Zero Hours Contracts


Zero hours contracts aka casual contracts have been heavily publicised the past couple of months. But what are they really?


Zero hours contracts essentially have no specified number of working hours. This means that employees may have one week with 3-5 days working full time, and then the next week have none. This works well in a number of industries where work is infrequent or seasonal.


What does this mean?

  • The employee is on call to work as and when they are needed.
  • The employer is under no obligation to give them work.
  • The employee is under no obligation to work when asked.


What rights are they entitled too?

Employees on a zero hours contract are still entitled to the national minimum wage and statutory annual leave just the same as regular contract employees. The employer is still responsible for the health and safety of staff on a zero hours contract.


Recent changes made to zero hour’s contracts:

The recent Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will ban the ability for companies to offer employees exclusivity terms in their contract. The system before this was introduced allowed businesses to put employees on a zero hours contract that wouldn’t allow them to work elsewhere during their contract period. Banning this, will allow employees to have greater job security by enabling them to work essentially on a number of different zero hours contracts, in the hope of finding more consistent work.


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