Zero hours contracts

Zero hours contract is a non -legal term used to describe many different types of casual agreements between an employer and an individual.
A zero hours contract is one in which the employer does not guarantee the individual any hours of work. The employer offers the individual work when it arises, and the individual can either accept the work offered, or decide not to take up the offer of work on that occasion.
Regardless of how many hours are actually offered, the employer must pay at least the National Minimum Wage.
Those employed on a Zero hours contract still has employment rights associated with their employment status and individuals on a zero hours contract will either have employment status of a ‘worker’ or an ‘employee’.
Any individual who is a ‘worker’ will be entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave, rest breaks and protection from discrimination.
Zero hours contracts are useful where work demands are irregular or where there is not a constant demand for staff. Zero hours contracts may also provide a level of flexibility for the individual.
Zero hours contracts might not be appropriate if the job offered will mean the individual will work regular hours over a continuous period of time.
Employers should consider whether a zero hours contract is the best type of contract for their business need depending on the nature of the work to be offered and the specific circumstances. Depending on the business need, alternatives might include: offering overtime to permanent staff, recruiting a part time employee or someone on a fixed term contract if regular hours need to be worked and considering using agency staff.
It is important to ensure that best practice is followed should you decide to use zero hours contracts, the contracts need to be clear and transparent so that the individual can understand their rights and what the implications of such a contract means to them.