Are Zero Hour Contracts Entitled To Maternity Pay

Maria Garcia
• Monday, 21 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Workers are not entitled to paid time off for antenatal meetings. Employees, on the other hand, have the right to take 'reasonable' paid time off work for antenatal appointments.

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This includes travel to their clinic or their GP, and it's without loss of pay. You can also ask to view a certificate that confirms that your employee is, in fact, pregnant.

An employee can take up to 52 weeks (one year) of maternity leave. The date when they plan to start their maternity leave.

Workers don’t have the right to maternity leave. When they’re ready to return to work following the childbirth, they need to contact you.

While you might genuinely be unable to offer hours to a worker at the time they plan to return to work, you can’t just refuse to give them the same type of work because of any reason to do with their pregnancy. Doing this would give the worker the chance to make a discrimination claim.

As we know from earlier, both employees and workers can be on zero hours contracts. If you pay your staff through PAY and deduct any tax or National Insurance, then both types of staff could qualify for Statutory Maternity (SVP).

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How does an employee work out the 15th week before their baby is due? Once you’ve counted 15, this Sunday is the start of the 15th week we keep mentioning.

A full Sunday-to-Saturday week off work breaks the continuous employment. Your staff can ask that you check their entitlement for Statutory Maternity (SVP) with the HMRC Employer’s Helpline.

You must act reasonably to remove or reduce any risks to all staff. If you can’t reduce or remove the risks that come with a certain job role, you must offer a suitable alternative to your employee.

By now, it should be obvious that employees have far more zero hour contract maternity rights than staff who are workers. You might be under the impression that zero hours workers don't have any workplace rights.

As workers, they're entitled to annual leave and the National Minimum Wage. What's less straightforward is whether zero hours contract staff get sick pay.

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Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available to zero hours contract workers as long as: If a worker relies on multiple jobs to reach this wage, they might not be eligible for SSP.

It's your responsibility to give zero hours contract workers sick pay, and you shouldn't try to trick them out of their SSP allowance either. For example, if a contract worker calls in sick, you shouldn't cancel their upcoming shifts to make it look like they were never due in work.

You get the same amount of maternity leave and pay even if you have more than one baby, for example twins. If you have a partner, you might be able to use Shared Parental Leave (SPL).

This means you end your maternity leave early and what’s left of your entitlement can be used more flexibly between you and your partner. You can decide to take SPL after you have started maternity leave, but it’s best to plan it and let your employer know as early as possible.

You’re protected by law against unfair treatment and dismissal if it's because of your pregnancy and maternity, no matter how long you’ve worked for your employer. This means if you're dismissed while pregnant or on maternity leave, your employer must put the reason for your dismissal in writing.

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I was working regular shifts for two years and then my hours were reduced during my pregnancy. I presume that you have been paid statutory maternity pay and your employer has confirmed you were on maternity leave for a year.

There is no binding case law or commentary that I can find regarding this type of situation, but my view is that your employer has, by paying you statutory maternity pay and stating you have been on maternity leave for a year, accepted that you are its employee and have had continuous service for 26 weeks leading up to your maternity leave. As your working hours (and therefore holiday entitlement) varied from year to year, your employer would need to calculate your holiday entitlement for the maternity leave period based on the previous 12 months’ service.

So for example, the company would need to calculate it based on the pay you received for each of the 12 weeks worked before maternity leave started. In terms of next steps, you should check your contract and ask your employer to review their position.

If the grievance is unsuccessful, then you could consider bringing an employment tribunal claim against the business. Finally, I recommend you also ask the employer to check the holiday entitlement calculation of 12.03% per hour.

Zero hour contract employees are entitled to the equivalent of 5.6 weeks holiday per year which is normally calculated at 12.07% per hour. According to the Office of National Statistics, some 250,000 people in the UK are on zero hours contracts, whilst the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates this figure is closer to 1 million.

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According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 18-24 year olds are most likely to be employed on zero hours contracts. Many students, for example, find zero hours contracts enable them to fit their studies around working.

No steady income Employer not obliged to provide work Open to abuse from employers Could be summoned to work at a few hours notice No redundancy pay No pension No sick pay Difficult to get mortgages or credit cards The main negatives to these contracts are that you don’t have a steady income.

You are paid as and when you’re needed, making managing your finances awkward. Finally, it could also mean that getting a mortgage or credit card can be difficult as you have no confirmed salary to disclose to creditors.

If you are given the same shifts every week, legally you are seen as a traditional employee (not a zero hours contract worker.) If this is the case, think carefully, there may be times when you are unable to work and will have to turn down shifts.

Holiday pay and entitlement are usually calculated based on the number of hours an employee works in a given period of time. In this post, we’ll explain how to calculate holiday pay and entitlement for zero -hours contract employees.

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In fact, breaks in their working can even affect the sort of rights that accrue with time. Their specific pay and entitlement is calculated based on the number of hours they work.

For full-time employees who work five days a week, the 5.6 weeks of annual statutory holiday entitlement equates to 28 days a year. But because they don’t work set hours, and because they may work a different number of days each week, it’s much easier to calculate their leave based on hours.

So zero -hours contract workers are entitled to a prorate amount of that 5.6 weeks holiday, which equates to 12.07% of the hours they work each year. So a zero -hours contract employee who works 10 hours in a week will accrue 72 minutes of paid leave.

You’ll have to do this calculation every week for every zero -hours contract worker on your books. To make things a little easier, we have a great holiday entitlement calculator you can use.

If you pay your zero -hours contract employees on a monthly basis, you can work out how much they’ve paid in a week by first calculating their average hourly pay for the last month. UK's law specifies that if a zero -hours contract employee hasn’t worked for four weeks, you may treat it as the end of their employment.

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Even if you intend to offer the employee more work at a later date, you’ll still have to pay them for any taken leave.

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