Zero hours contracts are back in the news as Labour has promised new rights for workers on zero hours contracts.
A Labour government says it would guarantee zero hours workers the right to a proper contract after 12 weeks of regular work.
A zero hour contract can be simply explained as a contract where the employer does not guarantee any hours of work at all. A worker may or may not be required to accept work that’s offered. Workers are entitled to certain limited employment rights, including the National Minimum Wage, holiday, rest breaks, protection against unlawful discrimination and protection for whistleblowing.
Zero hour contracts aren’t all bad. Their flexibility appeals to some workers and supports job creation. On the other hand, workers will take a zero hour contract because it is all the hours that they are able to get. Some would want to work more hours if offered.
We regularly deal with issues arising from zero hour contracts and advise employees on their rights as a worker. This includes whether they are classed as employees and therefore have additional rights, like the right not to be unfairly dismissed or the right to a redundancy payment.
An Employment Tribunal will consider what actually happens in practice and not just what the contract states.
If you have a zero hours contract get in touch with our Employment Law Department for more information on your rights.
This article was written by Alex Pearce, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at April 2015.