Are Zero Hour Contracts Entitled To Redundancy

Christina Perez
• Tuesday, 01 December, 2020
• 8 min read

The government has provided a number of means of financial support to businesses unable to operate because of Covid-19, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, others, including zero hours contract workers, have found themselves unemployed or without work and been forced to claim benefits to survive.

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But now, a number of employers have announced plans to make staff redundant and economists expect the unemployment rate to go up to 10%. There a number of ways for selecting staff for redundancy, but some can have a bigger effect on zero hours contract workers. By length of service Some employers may look at how long you have worked with them.

You are entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you are an employee and have been employed for at least two years. The word “unprecedented” has been in almost constant use during the pandemic to describe the unending wave of new situations and circumstances that we have been confronted by.

The furlough scheme, a new concept in itself, has raised its fair share of hitherto, unheard of circumstances and scenarios. Now, as employers look to save costs by making jobs redundant, probably for the first time, zero -hours and casual workers will have to be included in the process.

We think the safest approach is to put at risk all employees who fall into the redundancy pool, regardless of their contract type. Equally, if you have just a few or a single zero -hours position that bears no similarity to any jobs that are being made redundant, then you may be able to justify bringing these employees back on their zero hours terms.

If you are an employee, you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay as long as you have been working for the company for two years or more. “Usually in the case of zero -hours contracts the individual will be considered a worker,” says Matt Ginger, an employment lawyer.

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If you are an employee and have been working for the employer for at least two years, you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay at the minimum. Staff on zero -hours contracts were eligible for furlough and do qualify for the chancellor’s job support scheme, which starts on 1 November.

Given that zero -hours contracts offer employers the opportunity to call people in only when they need them, there seems to be no incentive for them to use the job support scheme. Cineworld's employees first found out that their jobs were under threat via media reports on Saturday evening.

On Monday afternoon employees had not received communication about their pay for the next month, according to workers who asked to remain anonymous because the terms of redundancy had not been settled. Cineworld’s cinemas are generally run by a small team of salaried managers and a larger group of workers whose contracts give them no guaranteed hours of work.

Cineworld on Monday confirmed it would close its 127 UK cinemas after distributors for the James Bond spy franchise delayed the release of the latest installment, depriving the industry of another potential blockbuster. The chain will also shut more than 500 US cinemas, and a total of 45,000 UK and US workers are expected to be made redundant once contractors, such as cleaners and security guards are included.

Is there anything to stop an employer keeping someone on a zero hours contract indefinitely whilst offering no work on in order to avoid any redundancy payments? In most instances, working under a fixed term contract means the employer must treat you in the same way as a comparable permanent employee, but whether you’re entitled to claim redundancy depends on the length of time you’ve worked for that employer.

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When a fixed term contract comes to an end and is not renewed, this may be because the project is complete and there are no other business reasons to continue. If you’ve worked for this employer for two years or more on a continuous basis, you are entitled to the same redundancy benefits as permanent members of staff.

This also applies if you’ve worked under contracts of shorter duration for the same employer, and they continued without a break. Redundancy claims are a very professional company, Caroline who is dealing with our case is friendly, compassionate and very clear in explaining everything during this difficult time.

Turn down a suitable alternative job your employer offered you without a good reason If you turned 22 or 41 while working for your employer, the higher rates only apply for the full years you were over 22 or 41.

The time you've worked for your employer is called your length of service. In these situations you can work out your length of service by adding on the amount of statutory notice you should have had.

You can't add any extra notice your contract says you're entitled to. It doesn’t matter if you’re earning less than usual at the time you’re made redundant.

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The average will be based on what you earned in the 12 weeks before you were told you’d be made redundant. Your overtime won’t usually be included in your weekly pay, unless it was regular, and you had to do it as part of your job.

If you’ve been laid off or put on short-time working, and then made redundant, your redundancy pay will be based on your usual weekly pay when you did your normal hours. The only time this won’t apply is if you agreed to a permanent change in the number of hours you work.

If your employer is insolvent, someone should contact you to tell you what you need to do to claim your statutory redundancy pay. You can get this even if you’ve worked there less than 2 years and can’t get statutory redundancy pay.

They’ll tell you how to apply to the government for your statutory redundancy pay, as well as other money your employer owes you. Before you can do this, you’ll need to go to an employment tribunal to make a redundancy pay-claim.

You can check if your employer is insolvent by searching the register of companies on GOV.UK. If you still can’t find them, it might mean your employer’s business isn’t a company, and they're registered as a ‘sole trader’ or ‘partnership’ under their personal name.

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(Source: www.moddb.com)

If you haven’t been given a contract, or it’s not in there, ask your employer or check your staff handbook or intranet. You should check any written agreement you made with your employer when you were furloughed.

Your employer should tell you how any contractual redundancy pay is calculated and when you’ll get your payment. By law, your employer’s contractual redundancy pay can’t be less than the statutory amount.

If there isn’t a union at your work, you might have an employee representative to help you understand the redundancy agreement. They’ll pay you in the same way they paid your wages, for example into your bank account.

If you don’t get your payment after sending your letter, you need to contact ACAS. ACAS provides independent support to help sort out employment disputes.

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