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Zeroing in on zero hours contracts

What is a zero hours contract?

A zero hours contract is generally a contract for casual working, under which the employer does not guarantee to provide the worker with any work and pays the worker only for work actually carried out. The worker is expected to be available for work when or if called on by the employer.

Workers rights

Workers are entitled to far fewer employment rights than employees. Workers working under a zero hours contract are entitled to the national minimum wage, holiday pay and statutory sick pay but not other entitlements afforded to employees such as notice pay or statutory maternity pay.

Zero hours contracts in the news

Zero hours contracts have received public criticism in the news as of late. Many employees argue that they are an exploitation of employment rights, it makes it impossible for them to budget or plan their working week and, if they complain about anything or cannot do any hours offered on occasion, they are then not offered hours in the future.

However, many employers say that without such contracts their businesses would not be able to operate. They allow employers to employ workers when the demands of the business so require. Many employees also like the flexibility of being able to pick and choose if they work one week or not, especially if they have childcare responsibilities or other employment.

Whilst there are far fewer workers on zero hours contracts than employees on employment contracts, their use is increasing and any action by the Government to make them unlawful seems unlikely for the foreseeable future, especially in the current economic climate.

Find out more from Hopkins

If you are an employer and want to employ workers on zero hours contracts, or if you are a worker and have issues with working under such a contract, then please contact Seb Walker.

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