Are Zero Hour Contracts Legal In Australia

Christina Perez
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 12 min read

Reading Time: 3minutesThe emergence of the gig economy has led to atypical work arrangements. Further, the unpredictable market has had a significant impact on how business’s manage their money.

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(Source: giantimagemanagement.com)


However, the flexibility of the contract may not produce the high standard of service delivery and quality of work that is set by the business. Furthermore, employers may find it difficult to calculate: holiday pay, and annual leave accrual.

Zerohourcontracts are attractive to university students or those seeking a part-time job, or have care responsibilities. These contracts provide them with the opportunity to work without needing to give up your other commitments.

Furthermore, there is difficulty planning or scheduling ahead due to the unpredictability of working hours or jobs, thus leaving the worker in a vulnerable position. In conclusion, employers should provide adequate notice as possible for any available work.

Thus, zerohourcontracts are a viable and feasible option that provides employers flexibility to manage their resources. Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customizing legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

According to an ILL report, working time became a central workforce issue at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and it emerged as the fundamental labor policy issue since the adoption of the Factories Act of 1844 by the United Kingdom. Ultimately, The Factories Act 1844 limited working hours for women and children.

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(Source: giantimagemanagement.com)

Regulating working time is a major and the oldest concerns of labor legislation. The said convention also provides for adequate (daily and weekly) rest periods.

Convention 01 is applicable to the industrial undertakings which include among others mines, quarries and other processes for extractions of minerals, construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, railways, telephone installations, gas works, transport services, etc. On the other hand, Convention 30 covers those employees, which are engaged in commerce sector and administrative activities/office work.

Does ILL support forty- hour work week, as found in many European nations? During the Great Depression, ILL adopted another convention, which called for reduction in working hours (to forty hours a week) in a manner so that wages/living standard of the workers is not affected negatively in consequence.

There is no specific ILL instrument, which protects these casual or temporary workers. Although casual work seems beneficial both to the employer (in meeting seasonal needs, filling in vacancies temporarily, no extra costs associated) and employees (especially young and student workers where such experience gives them access to the labor market), however, such workers have lower productivity, high turnover rate, little job security, a feeling of dissatisfaction and have no benefits like pension or paid leave.

Casual/precarious work has appeared in the last two or three decades while most of relevant ILL instruments were adopted before that time. This is the reason that no ILL instrument specifically mentions casual work.

Workers need these breaks for rest, meals and religious activities. However, some countries count these rest breaks as part of the working hours.

National labor legislation in Pakistan prohibits night work by women. This policy was in line with the ILL Convention 89, which prohibited night work by women.

Many night workers are employed by tertiary/services sector these days. As it seems advantageous for both employers (as there is optimum use of machinery and equipment; higher production) and employees (higher total pay if night work premium is granted) on the one hand while on the other it has also negative aspects for both workers and employers.

There is also increased risk of breast cancer for women night workers. Similarly, for employers, the night work brings more administrative costs in compensating workers for accidents and diseases.

ILL Convention 171 talks about maternity protection for women night workers. Unions in Britain want to ban them, the British Labor Party is putting political pressure on the Conservative government to bring in legislation.

In March 2015, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 received Royal Assent. 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.

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. Subway workers are also required, as a condition of employment, to waive their rights to limit their workweek to 48 hours.

The Workplace Employment Relations Survey conducted by the government of the UK in 2004 and 2011 shows that the proportion of workplaces that have some employees on zero -hours contracts has increased from 4% in 2004 to 8% in 2011. 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. They may suit some people such as retirees and students who want occasional earnings and are able to be entirely flexible about when they work.

Vince Cable, business secretary of the government, is considering closer regulation of the contracts but has ruled out a ban. Labor MPs Alison McGovern and Andy Sanford have campaigned to ban or better regulate the practice.

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.

^ “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 cover more than 1 m UK workers: Poll of more than 1,000 employers reveals controversial contract used far more widely in the UK than government data suggests”. 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. “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.

Zero -hours contracts could be subject to new legislation, says Vince Cable: Business secretary says employer exclusivity is main issue for review, as figures show one million are on zero -hours deals”. “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”.

^ “Restaurant Brands says no to zero hour contracts ". Bess, Julia; Force, Chris; Moore, San; Stuart, Mark (February 2013).

“The National Minimum Wage, earnings and hours in the domiciliary care sector” (PDF). Social Science Research Network (Working paper).

Penny cook, Matthew; Cory, Giselle; Lakes, Vichy (June 2013). “A Matter of Time: The rise of zero -hours contracts (PDF).

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