Are Zero Hour Contracts Legal In Ireland

Maria Johnson
• Saturday, 07 November, 2020
• 7 min read

Work of a casual nature Work done in emergency situations Short-term relief to cover routine absences For example, where a member of staff in a care facility must accompany a resident to hospital at short notice, an appropriate substitute worker can be called in to cover under a zero -hours contract.

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Similarly, schools maintain a panel of teachers to provide substitute cover for the unexpected absence of a regular member of the teaching staff. You must receive a minimum payment if you are called in to work but sent home without work (except in emergencies, exceptional circumstances or short-term relief, for example).

An employee under a zero -hours contract who works less than 25% of their potential hours in any week should be compensated. Alternatively, you could substitute the ERO hourly rate if this applies to your job.

This minimum payment rate does not apply if you are on call. Where your current employment contract does not accurately reflect the average hours per week that you actually work over a 12-month period, you are entitled to a banded contract.

You can find more information in our document on the working week on how to request a banded hours contract and how to complain if you feel your request was unreasonably refused. You can enforce your legal rights by referring a dispute with your employer to the Workplace Relations Commission.

In fact, it makes certain breaches of the act a criminal offense: if the employer incorrectly designates an employee as ‘self-employed’, for example. The main thrust of this new law is to deal with ‘precarious work’, zero hours contracts, and uncertain working conditions for employees in industries which would have relied on a great deal of flexibility in the employment contract; service industries such as retail, hospitality, and tourism for example.

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The employer has a defense, however, if he can show that he exercised due diligence and took all reasonable precautions when arriving at the designation. Prohibition of zero hours contracts Zero hours contracts will be prohibited unless used in specific exceptional circumstances of genuine casual employment and where they are essential for the needs of the business in the short term or in emergency situations.

It is stressful, humiliating and makes it next to impossible for workers to plan ahead or to budget for their household expenses. The day-to-day reality of such working conditions for workers has no place in a modern, wealthy economy.

Workers are entitled to a written statement of their terms of employment within first 5 days Workers are entitled to a minimum payment if their employer fails to provide them with work.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided as part of Legal -Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

New employment protection legislation aimed at providing greater support to those who have casual or precarious working arrangements will come into effect on Monday. This statement must include information on “the number of hours which the employer reasonably expects the employee to work” both per day and per week.

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This law is rooted in a foundation of extensive consultation and, as a result, this is a balanced and fair measure for both employees and employers which is designed to work effectively in practice.” On Saturday workers with the courier company Deliveroo staged a protest in Dublin supported by campaign group Communities Against Low Pay.

The group said “all workers need to join a trade union to protect themselves from exploitation, to secure their rights and proper working conditions”. A number of Deliveroo cyclists have complained about precarious terms of employment, including new contracts which mean they get a lower payment for each delivery, as well as a lack of protection following spate of assaults in the city.

The government today approved draft legislative proposals from Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Small Business Minister Pat Been that will “address problems caused by the increased visualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work”. A government statement says the plans include an amendment to the Organization of Working Time Act which will outlaw zerohourcontracts “in most circumstances”.

General Secretary Patricia King said: “This is an issue that Congress has been active on for some time, and we see much of what is contained in this draft legislation as quite positive. “Congress has pressed the need for legal change to counter the downward pressure on standards that has resulted from zero hour, low hour and precarious work practices.

The main distinction between zerohourcontracts and ‘if and when’ contracts is the absence of mutual obligation. The WTA is also amended to allow for the introduction of minimum compensation payments in certain circumstances.

Employees must make the request to be placed in a band of weekly working hours in writing. Banded hour arrangements entered into by agreement following collective bargaining are excluded from section 18A.

The 2018 Act also strengthens anti-penalisation provisions to protect employees who seek to exercise their rights under the WTA. If an employee claims to have been penalized for asserting his/her rights under the Act, they will be entitled to make a claim in the Workplace Relations Commission and receive an award of compensation of up to two years’ remuneration.

Which include a requirement to provide employees with a “Day 5” statement setting out five core terms of employment. Please contact the advice line on +353 1 886 0350 to speak with a consultant regarding the new laws or any other HR issue affecting your organization.

In addition, some zero -hours contract workers may in fact be employees with an even greater number of rights. Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WAR), every worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks' annual leave.

A worker is entitled to be paid during statutory annual leave at a rate of a week's pay for each week of leave, calculated in accordance with the complicated 'week's pay' rules contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). Back in 2004, the Court of Appeal in Ramsey v Albion Engineering and Manufacturing held that the exclusion of voluntary overtime from the calculation of a week's pay for the purposes of calculating both contractual and WAR holiday pay was lawful.

In recent years we have seen a plethora of high profile overtime and holiday pay calculation cases including, Williams v British Airways plc, Bear Scotland v Fulton, Dudley Metropolitan Council v Gillette and most recently Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust, which make it clear that such an argument based on Ramsey would fail. Working hours which are not guaranteed and/or voluntary must be included when calculating holiday pay.

While this sounds simple actually carrying out this calculation for a business utilizing large numbers of zero -hours contract workers can often prove to be an administrative headache. Earlier this year, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Brazil v Harper Trust, held that calculating holiday pay for a variable hour, term-time only worker based on the 12.07% method was incorrect.

A zero -hours worker is entitled to holiday pay calculated under the Working Time Regulations and Employment Rights Act, which is based on average earnings over a 12-week period, reflecting the number of hours that worked. The EAT made it clear that the express provisions for calculating holiday pay for workers with variable hours contained in the Working Time Regulations cannot be overridden by capping annual holiday pay to 12.07% of annualized hours for ease of calculation.

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