Are You Allowed Zero Hour Contracts

Ellen Grant
• Friday, 20 November, 2020
• 11 min read

But it's a blanket phrase to describe many casual agreements between individuals and their employer. With that in mind, a zero hours contract usually involves an employer not being able to guarantee the individual any hours of work, nor a set working pattern.

(Source: petrofilm.com)


Anyone working a zero hours contract has statutory employment rights. A minimum notice period if their employment is ending.

The right to work no more than 48 hours on average per week. The right to opt out of only working 48 hours on average per week.

Statutory minimum length of rest breaks. Whichever status your staff have in your agreement with them, the relevant rights from above apply.

It's common for a business to employ both employees and workers. Hiring a worker can be great for both parties when you don't have a constant demand for staff.

Special events like weddings, functions, and business expos. In jobs where health & safety is a concern, such as a lifeguard or security officer, having workers to call up in the case of staff absence is essential.

(Source: petrofilm.com)

You should always be open and honest with any of your staff about their employment status. Restaurants, hotels, and other companies across the US are laying off workers or severely cutting hours as the coronavirus pandemic cripples business.

Companies across the US are laying off workers as the coronavirus pandemic cripples entire industries, from airlines to restaurants. But even workers who are on zero hour schedules or who are furloughed are eligible for unemployment benefits, according to Andrew Settler, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

“The only requirement for unemployment benefits is you had zero earnings in the prior week and your employer didn't offer you any hours,” Settler told Business Insider. Reducing workers' hours to zero but still keeping them on as employees can be a way for restaurants and other companies to cope with an economic downtown, according to Heidi Shithole, a senior economist and policy director at EPI.

“If you can keep people on for when your demand for your goods and services ramps back up, then you don't have to go through hiring and retraining,” Shithole told Business Insider. While cutting employees' hours to zero is one tactic businesses are using, other companies will put employees on furlough, which is mandatory unpaid leave that a business may implement as a cost-saving measure when it doesn't want to lay off staff but is unable to keep paying them.

If a worker is not being offered any hours and the employer says they're not eligible for unemployment benefits, the employee is being given incorrect information and should apply anyway, according to Settler. When it comes to applying for unemployment benefits, workers are not considered to be employed if they are not earning wages, according to Settler.

(Source: petrofilm.com)

In a time when virtually the entire restaurant industry is grinding to a halt, one of the baseline requirements for unemployment benefits may seem like a roadblock: that the applicant must be searching for a job. But applicants can still make an effort to search for work even if the likelihood of getting hired appears to be nonexistent, according to Settler.

Settler added that workers whose hours were reduced but not cut completely can also file for unemployment benefits. The average amount an employer has to pay for an unemployment insurance claimant in the US is $277 per year, according to US Department of Labor data.

On a date to be appointed, s. 153 of the Act will amend the Employment Rights Act 1996, so that exclusivity terms in zero -hours contracts will no longer be enforceable, and regulations may specify other circumstances under which employers may not restrict what other work zero -hours workers can do. Some commentators have observed that the number of such contracts may be under-reported, as many people may be confusing them with casual employment, and may not be reporting them as temporary.

A major franchise of Subway also uses the contracts, which state, “The company has no duty to provide you with work. Your hours of work are not predetermined and will be notified to you on a weekly basis as soon as is reasonably practicable in advance by your store manager.

The survey found that larger companies are more likely to use zero -hours contracts. British business leaders have supported them, stating that they provide a flexible labor market.

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(Source: giantimagemanagement.com)

These included Sports Direct and two cinema chains, Carbon and Every man. However, Cineworld, another leading cinema chain that also owns Picture house, has come under scrutiny for continuing to use the contract format, with the Ritzy living wage protests at London's Ritzy Cinema especially prominent.

The Institute of Directors, a chartered organization of British business leaders, has defended the contracts as providing a flexible labor market, citing the lack of flexibility in Italy and Spain. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has also argued that they benefit employees, including students, by providing flexibility, and could provide a route into more permanent employment.

Casual labor contracts in Canada can have “no guaranteed minimum hours,” place “no obligation on the employer to provide work”, and pay can be “pro rated in line with hours worked.” ^ “Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015”, legislation.gov.UK, The National Archives, 2015 c. 26 ^ Unman, Phillip (8 September 2016).

“More than 900,000 UK workers now on zero -hours contracts ". “ Zero hours” contracts and the flexible labor market”.

Zero -hours contracts : 5.5 m Britons “are on deals offering little guaranteed work”: Unite survey finds 22% of workers employed by private firms are on contracts promising less than three hours a week”. The government's refusal to address the growing scandal of zero -hours contracts is creating a sub-class of insecure and low-paid employment.

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(Source: frozenfiefdom.com)

“Pressure mounts on Sports Direct over zero -hours contracts : Unite demands meeting with company founder Mike Ashley over contracts that do not provide workers with set hours”. Zero -hours contract figures were wrong, ONS admits”.

“McDonald's offer staff the chance to get off zero -hours contracts ". “Burger King and Domino's Pizza also using zero -hours contracts : British Retail Consortium calls on employers to act responsibly amid revelations about fast food chain workers”.

^ Neville, Simon; Matthew Taylor; Phillip Unman (30 July 2013). “Buckingham Palace uses zero -hours contracts for summer staff: The 350 part-time workers deployed during summer opening of the royal family's London residence have no guaranteed work”.

“Carbon and Every man cinema staff on zero -hours contracts ". “Cineworld boss pledges to continue with zero -hours contracts ".

The CBI says that labor market flexibility, including zero -hours contracts, supported job creation during the recent post-recession recovery. “Economic Outlook: Turn sharp left for the 1970s and Corbynomics”.

“Every man cinema chain is next to drop zero -hours contracts ". “Ritzy cinema living wage strike disrupts BFI London film festival”.

^ Archived 16 August 2014 at the Payback Machine ^ “Kiwis tied to zero hour contracts speak out”. ^ Zero hour contracts officially history”.

Bess, Julia; Force, Chris; Moore, San; Stuart, Mark (February 2013). “The National Minimum Wage, earnings and hours in the domiciliary care sector” (PDF).

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