Zero-hours contracts are “vital” to the success of small businesses, a group of business leaders have claimed.
The controversial contracts, which see employees hired with no guarantee of work have been called exploitative by critics.
The contracts mean that employees only work when needed by employers, often at short notice.
But at a roundtable event organised by workforce management solutions firm Kronos, small business owners defended their use of the contracts.
Rob Hogan, managing director at market research firm Teamsearch, said: "We have 90% of staff on zero-hours contracts. We know our workers prefer these flexible type of contracts and, to be honest, without them we would sink."
David Knowles-Leak, the Thames Valley regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, was "surprised at talk of banning the contracts", but said they must not be used for "exploitation".
The government's consultation on zero-hours contracts is expected to begin in one week.
Research published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development found that more than a quarter (27%) of healthcare employers were likely to hire people on a zero hours contract.