Zero Hours Contract

Having a coherent zero-hours contract is crucial when a business wishes to hire part-time, casual workers.

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Table of Contents

This document is GDPR compliant.

Having a coherent zero-hours contract is crucial when a business wishes to hire part-time, casual workers.

Casual workers are those hired to do a job when it is needed but are not promised any set numbers of working days or hours.

Good zero-hour contracts should include areas pertaining to the practical arrangements of how one the work will be offered and performed. It also includes aspects that are similar to employee contracts, such as clauses regarding the place of work, hours, holidays, pay and termination.

However, exclusivity clauses are now forbidden (Exclusivity clauses were legal documents that restricted the workers from working for any other company than the one issuing the contract)

Use this zero-hours contract:

  • When you would like to a temporary or casual worker to cover any new necessary jobs or emergencies
  • When you would like to employ workers that do not have a strict schedule but are more available when required to be
  • if the worker has other commitments that prevent them from having a strict schedule, e.g. childcare or studying
  • for workers located in either England, Wales or Scotland

What is included in zero-hours contracts?

These zero-hour contracts include:

  • The type of work the worker will be asked to do and how this work would be offered and carried out
  • Terms concerning any pay and benefits
  • Where the worker will be located and agreed-upon hours and holidays
  • Terms concerning potential sicknesses
  • Arrangements for the termination of the agreement

What are zero-hours contracts?

Zero hour contracts are agreements between businesses and temporary employees that state the terms of their work, wherein there are no guarantees for work in the future or set hours/days.

It also explains the type of work they will be doing, the pay/benefits they will be receiving and agreed-upon hours and holidays.

How do I know if I need a zero-hours contract?

You should use a Zero hour contract when you cannot fully assure your employee of work in the future, or if you would like an employee who has more flexible working hours than a full or part-time employee.

They are often used in businesses where the demand for their work continuously changes, for example, on-call employment.

What is the main difference between Zero hours contract and employment contracts?

The main difference between the zero-hour contracts and employment contracts is that recipients of zero-hour contracts are not obligated to accept the contract nor are the employees obligated to offer the work.

Are recipients of zero-hours contracts workers or employees?

Recipients of zero-hour contracts can be either workers or employees; it is dependent on their specific employment status.

Zero hour workers are granted the same fundamental employment rights as most regular workers, including annual leave, the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage, and capital for work-related travel.

Can employment relationships arise from zero-hours contracts?

Zero hour contracts can create a working relationship between the worker and the employer, but employee relationships tend to develop over time. The employer usually recruits the individual as a ‘worker’ in the case of zero-hour contracts. Still, as the work progresses, overtime ones’ reliability can help further develop the employment status of the worker.

The zero hour contract demonstrates that the worker is to be treated as temporary, not like the full-time employees.

In cases of potential disputes, the Employment Tribunal can make the decision regarding the state of the contractual relationship between the employee and the worker.

Are Zero Hour workers entitled to holiday pay or sickness pay?

Workers under zero-hour contracts are, as previously mentioned, entitled to annual leave or holiday pay, sick pay, Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage.

However, they do not have all the same rights as an “employee”, as an employee status would have allowed them to file for potential unfair dismissal, maternity leave, more accommodating hours or the statutory minimum notice.

How are Zero hour contracts terminated?

Employers can terminate this agreement immediately if the worker has committed any breach of the contracts’ terms, or have participated in any gross misconduct in the business, such as dishonesty or theft.

Workers can terminate this agreement by informing the employer as soon as possible that they would like to end their commitment as a casual worker.

Am I allowed to transfer employee data out of the European Economic Area (EEA)?

This document allows you to transfer employee data out of the EEA, but this can only be done if there the relevant security measures in place, such as the organisation receiving the data is officially accredited by an approved certification mechanism.

These safety precautions should be established in the Employer’s Data Protection Policy.

For more information on this, read International transfers of personal data.

For more advice:

Ask a lawyer:

  • if you would like to create an employment relationship using a zero-hours contract or other contracts like this
  • for workers based outside England, Wales or Scotland

Other names for Zero hours contract

Nil hours contract and 0-hour contract.

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