FusionHR Blog

HR news, updates and tips to help manage your people.

Zero hours contracts

At FusionHR we’ve recently revamped our casual contract to make it compliant with the entitlements for workers on zero hours, now a zero hours contract.

A zero hours contract is a non-legal term used to describe many different types of casual agreements between an employer and an individual.

It is one in which the employer does not guarantee the individual any hours of work. The employer offers the individual work when it arises, and the individual can either accept the work offered, or decide not to take up the offer of work on that occasion.

Working Hours and Employment Rights

Regardless of how many hours are actually offered, the employer must pay at least the National Minimum Wage and if a there is a part or full time comparator undertaking the same role the terms of employment must be equal to avoid an employment tribunal claim.

Everyone employed on a zero hours contract is entitled to statutory employment rights and the contract must be section 1 compliant in line with part and full time employee contracts. There are no exceptions!

A person will benefit from the employment rights associated with their employment status and individuals on a zero hours' contract will either have the employment status of a ’worker’ or an ‘employee’. In most cases an employee.

For an explanation of the difference between a worker and an employee visit https://www.gov.uk/employment-status/overview

Use of Zero Hours Contracts

Zero hours contracts allow flexibility for both employers and individuals and are used to cover sickness absence, seasonal work etc. However, they should not be considered as an alternative to proper business planning and should not be used as a permanent arrangement if it is not justifiable.

Zero hours contracts might not be appropriate if the job offered will mean the individual will work regular hours over a continuous period of time. For example, if an individual is asked to work from 9am to 12noon, Monday to Thursday for a 6-month period, it may be more appropriate to offer that worker a fixed term or permanent part time contract.

Zero hours contracts do not allow employers to avoid their responsibilities. All staff, regardless of their contract are entitled to employment rights (including holiday pay, maternity/paternity, sick pay and notice pay) and should be treated fairly and within the law.

Our advice is that there is at present little case law and the government is reviewing the legalities of zero hours contracts so you can issue them but please do so with caution!!!!

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