Bill presented to the Dail today to protect employees on "zero hour contracts"

Sinn Fein have presented a 'banded hours' bill in support of workers in Ireland

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A bill will come before the Dáil today aimed at providing protection for people on so called - if-and-when contracts.

The Sinn Féin banded hours contract bill would allow workers to apply for a contract that's reflective of their actual working week.

Employers would be able to refuse such contracts on reasonable grounds, with appeals being heard by the Workplace Relations Commissions.

The Party says the aim is to prevent unscrupulous employers keeping people on zero and low hours contracts - simply to deny them employment rights.

TD David Cullinane explains: "Unfortunately, many many workers in the retail sector and in other sectors who are on low hour contracts are being exploited by some unscrupulous employers, who have them stuck on low hour contacts, because they see it as a controlling mechanism. They can reduce people's hours at will. People don't know what hours they're working, there's no certainity, and banded hours provides them with certainty."

Banded hours would allow employees to work within a minimum set of hours - for example; Band A could be 11 to 14 hours per week - and if that employee consistently works at the upper end or beyond that band, they could then be pushed up to the next band - e.g. Band B could be 15 to 19 hours per week - and so on.