What are zero-hour contracts, and can casual workers ever become employees?


in
Legal, Resources

Updated for 2014.

With the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations in 2010, many Companies are believed to be using far more zero-hour contract workers now, instead of Agency temps. At Workline we get a lot of queries from people employed on zero-hour contracts, so here we look at these types of contracts in more detail.

There are basically three different types of working individuals:

  • An Employee
  • Worker (someone who works on a e.g. casual basis or is an agency temp)
  • Someone who is self-employed (i.e. a freelancer or contractor – for more information on determining your legal status if you are a contractor, see our IR35 Guide).

It is important for the individual and the employer to establish their status, as:

(To read about Internships/Work Experience see our Interns article here. For more information on unpaid Volunteers and Voluntary Workers see our new article here)

If you are employed on a Zero-Hour contract

You will generally be a Worker if employed on a zero-hour contract (some zero-hours contracts can be full employee contracts, although this is more unusual). A Worker is a broader category than an ‘employee’, introduced by European Union legislation (although there is no EU definition). A worker is anyone who works for an employer under a contract of employment (but this may be a written contract or not and the contract may not come directly from the Employer) and performs the work personally (which can include some freelancers).

Workers are usually:

  • Agency workers (‘temps’) – the Agency who finds you work pays your wages (or, if you are a Contractor, you may get work through an Agency but an Umbrella company pays your wages), and the Company who hires you pays a fee to the Agency for your work.
  • Short-term Casual Workers hired directly by the Employer (often with a written contract and usually paid via PAYE, with tax and national insurance contributions deducted) – Casual Workers are not usually part of the permanent workforce but supply their services on an irregular or flexible basis or have a ‘minimum guaranteed hours’ or ‘zero-hour’ contract.
  • Some Freelancers and Contractors - there are occasions when those who are self-employed for tax purposes may be classified as ‘workers’ for employment rights purposes – including when a self-employed person is personally providing a service under a contract for another party to a client (i.e. not providing services directly to the client or business). You cannot be a ‘worker’ if you are self-employed and the contract between yourself and your client includes a genuine right entitling you to ‘substitute’ someone else to do the work.

What are zero-hour contracts?

  • They are contracts that give businesses a high degree of flexibility as they give no guarantee to the individual worker of a minimum number of working hours, so the individual worker can be used as and when required, and is only paid for the hours they work.
  • The worker will not obtain ‘employee’ status generally, and will not build up any continuity of service (if the contract is appropriately written and accurately reflects the relationship between the employer and the worker).
  • The worker should not be required to undertake any work that is offered and there should be no detriment to them if they decline work or work for another company. Otherwise this would indicate they have employee status, it is called ‘mutuality of obligation .  ‘Mutuality of obligation’ is a key requirement for a contract of employment – where the employer is obliged to offer and pay for work and the employee is obliged to accept and perform the work.  Exclusivity Clauses (where a worker is not ‘allowed’ to work for another Employer) should not exist and on the 26th June 2014 the Government announced they would ban these clauses.  More details will follow as we know more!
  • For a zero-hour contract to be legitimate there must not be any mutuality of obligation between assignments given to and accepted by the worker (and this means that holiday entitlement should not accrue between assignments, only during the period of an assignment).  If you are an Employer and need help calculating your zero-hours workers’ holiday entitlement, as there are many issues here to keep abreast of, please talk to Lesley Furber at The HR Kiosk, as she has experience of providing this help.
  • In Mid December 2013 Vince Cable announced the start of a consultation on the use and nature of zero-hours contracts, looking for views from various stakeholders, up to until March 2014.  BIS has highlighted concerns at the use of exclusivity clauses preventing staff from working with multiple employers and the apparent lack of transparency of the contracts from both the employers and employees perspective.
  • In April 2014, the Labour leader Ed Milliband said that workers on zero-hours contracts would have the right to request a contract with a minimum amount of work after 12 months with the employer.  He also promised workers on zero-hours contract would be free to work for other employers and have the right to compensation if shifts were cancelled at short notice, if Labour come into power after the General Election in 2015.
  • On 26th June 2014 Vince Cable announced legislation would be introduced to ban ‘Exclusivity Clauses’ (which stop workers working for another Employer)You can read about this here and more details will  follow as it becomes clear!

Does a temporary/casual worker ever become an employee?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question.

If an employer engages people on an ad-hoc basis to help out during staff shortages or at busy times of the year, or when an emergency arises, knowing full well that the individual may or may not be available when the Employer needs them, then they will not be employees.

But, if the Employer regularises the arrangement with those workers and undertakes to provide them with work on specified days and at specified times of the week, on the understanding (accepted by the individual) that they will present themselves for work on those days and at those times, the chances are that the relationship between the employer and the workers will change to that of employer and employee.

The other factors that need to be taken into account in determining employee status include whether an individual is expected to carry out the work personally and whether the Employer has had sufficient control over the way the work was done.

As always, it will be for an employment tribunal  to determine the true nature of the contractual relationship between an employer and a worker, if an agreement cannot be made between the Employer and Worker.

An important Tribunal Case at the end of 2012 found that six individuals employed on ‘zero hours contracts’ were actually employees.

In Pulse Healthcare Limited V Care Watch Care Services Limited plus others, the 6 individuals were engaged by Carewatch to provide 24 hour care to a severely disabled individual.  Pulse took over the service contract from Carewatch and the individuals claimed they were employees and that their employment transferred under TUPE.  Pulse argued they were not employees and did not have sufficient continuity of employment to claim unfair dismissal but the Employment Tribunal disagreed.  The ET said there was sufficient mutuality of obligation for the claimants to be employed (i.e. they were required to personally perform the work, they were obliged to do the work and Carewatch undertook to offer the work).  The ET also disagreed that the claimants were engaged on a succession of individual contracts as opposed to an ‘umbrella’ contract and therefore did not have sufficient continuity of service – the ET felt they were employed under a ‘global’ contract to provide a critical care package.

If it is established that the employment relationship has changed to that of an employer and employee then the start of the individuals continuous period of employment will also need to be established, in order to determine what statutory (and perhaps contractual) rights the individual has.

In August 2013 a legal challenge was taking out against SportsDirect for their use of Zero-Hours contracts – see the details here.

If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues, or a Contractor/Freelancer/Employee with a complicated employment related problem, then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk  – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.

Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.

Photo by Mao Lini

  • Clive

    Hi, My sons girlfriend has just signed up with a care company on what I understand is a “zero hours” contract.
    She has been given shifts for the weekend which consist of approx 20 15Min or 30 Minute appointments starting at 7:30 and finishing at 22:15. There is just enough enough time to drive between appointments, maybe a 10-15 minute gap. and there is a period of about an and hour an half at 11:00 with no appointments. For this she will be paid for just the seven hours of the appointment times and no time for the travel or will not be given any travel expenses. Can this be right, it seems there are about 20 different places of employment. Also when she asked about time to eat was told that she should buy a sandwich before work and eat whilst driving between appointments. (which I believe is illegal as could be undue care and attention)

    Not sure how this can be right with days of 13 hours and only 7 hours pay….

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Clive, thanks for your message. Basically, no, this is not right, she should be paid for all travelling time that is in relation to her work. if you see our “Care Workers” page you will see this issue comes up time and time again with Care Companies – http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/care-workers-what-are-your-rights-at-work/
      Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • Clive

        Hi Lesley

        Thanks for the reply and pointing me in the right direction, I just thought that even with zero hours contracts you had to have some rights. I have also just found out that she has completed 4 days of training, without any pay or travel expenses. Also she has been told that in order to start working, on her own from Saturday (after just four days training, a young 18 year old girl going into strange peoples homes on her own without any supervision (other than she was told “we will be spying on you to make to make sure you do spend the 15 minutes in each house”)), she had to shadow one other person all day today, from 7:30 -22:00 without pay. I am sure there is a massive abuse of employment law going on here, and just unsure how far to take this. I also discovered she has been told she must insure her vehicle for business use to travel between customers, although they will not be paying her travel time or travel costs for this. I feel a call to a national newspaper to uncover this scandal may be more appropriate than trying to to get better money for a young girl who’s real reason for doing this was to help people. But I think I need to do something to stop this happening. She has spoken to others who are currently accepting these terms and working to these. I am sure at the end of the day the care will be compromised with these working conditions. Well I know that sounded like a bit of a rant, I think she will leave and learn a lesson, only 2 weeks of a young girls life but someone who would have dedicated time to look after people is lost to the system. I think we need to change things. I think this company will be named and shamed soon

        • Clive

          Also just found out that she did a CRB check and she had to pay this for herself, £50.00. They did not even pay for this.

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Clive, everything you describe appears to be quiet common in the care sector. I know these issues are made public fairly often, but the care employers usually blame the local council for not providing them with enough money. There are some good care employers out there though, it’s just a matter of finding a job with them. I usually say to care workers, in similar circumstances, to consider joining a Union, as the more people who stand up for their rights, over time the better their working and terms and condition will be. Regards, Lesley, Workline

        • joy

          hi clive all of what you have stated i have done,i work for a care company and it is awful,

  • vanessa

    Hi. just looking for a bit of advice…….. Have just completed 6 weeks (work experience) with an agency…. what a joke , was basically just unpaid work. Did shifts in various clients homes and really enjoyed the work. At the end of the 6 weeks the agency took me on their books. That was 13 days ago. Since then i have only been offered 2 lots of work… one was 2 twelve hour shifts at a place that would have cost me £16 a day to travel there and back… i refused to do this because of expense . They have now offered me 4 hours a day elsewhere. This is 4 seperate hours during the day . This would mean i had to travel between my home and clients home 4 times a day at a cost of £10 a day for petrol. The agency doesn’t pay travel expenses. This would mean paying out £70 a week in petrol as they are also expecting me to work for 7 days a week. would appreciate any advice you could give me on this

    • lesleyfurber

      hi Vanessa, thanks for your message. Obviously if you are on a zero hours contract then your Employer does not need to offer you work and you don’t need to accept it. See this page about care Workers because there is information (and also a lot of comments) about the travelling time you should be paid for. There is also a link there to mileage allowances on the HMRC website. http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/care-workers-what-are-your-rights-at-work/
      Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • jenny

    hi i have been working in a small department store since november on a 0 hour contract, i have been working pretty much fulltime since november, i want to be put on a permanent contract to have a bit of security but my boss wont, and ‘cant make promises’. it feels like im being used cos she just cuts my hours down when she wants, and ive got rent to pay. its nothing to do with my work cos theyve said how impressesed they are with me. isnt there some kind of law that if uv been working for the same place doing that many hours for a certain amount of time, that i can get a permanent contract?? please help :)

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Jenny, thanks for your message. I’m afraid there is not a straight or easy answer to this – time would play a factor but there it nothing set in stone about what the timescale would be. If you read the last section of this article, that will give you the current situation. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • seeking help

    Hi I have been working for a company for around 7 years on a zero hour contract, and working regularly during this time. All of a sudden having signed up for work I have been told there is no work without any explanation. However the employer has been using an agency to subsidize their staff requirements during busy periods and overlooking myself. I have since not received any notification for possible shifts. What can I do as this leaves me without a job.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi, thanks for your message. Unless you could prove that you were an employee during this period (see the details above), by taking a case to an Employment Tribunal, then there is probably not much you can do – as I’m sure they will not be obilged to offer you any hours under the terms of your contract? Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • jessica

    can anyone help me? ive been working for a care company for 5 years now, my manager says im on a zero contract though ive never had anything in writing to say this until recently where she keeps telling us we are on a zero hour contract. when i applied for the job it was advertised as 16 – 36 hours a week. i never go without work im working 7 days a week some days out for 6 hours sometimes out for a hour. we get time sheets every week telling us where we are working, we have to give 2 weeks notice if we are unavailable on a particular day otherwise she said we are avaliable 24/7 and have to work if asked and once we receive our time sheet that is final and we must work the days she has stated. im just wondering if im entitled to atleast 1 full days rest after working so many hours. I tried reading up on zero contract hours and i can find on a limited amount of information and nothing really matches my zero hours contract and i cant find anything about rest days

  • mary

    hi i work as carea who is on a zero hour contract ,but for the last 2and a half years i have worked over 46 hours a week ,until clients have pass away .and we have not been given eny other work .
    so i have found myself a new job ,but they say we have to give a months notice,before i can move on.
    but my other job is ready to go ,so i gave one weeks notice ,they say they will not pay me ,but we are payed monthly ,and they will owe me 3wks pay also 12 days holiday ,if i have no work from them ,how can i stay ,i need to pay my bills ,do i have any rights ,and can they keep my money,

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Mary, thanks for your message. They only need to pay you what you have worked (and any holiday entitlement you are owed) – so if you worked 1 weeks notice they must pay you for this. They do not need to pay the other 3 weeks that would make up your months notice if you did not work this. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Rick

    Hi Can an casual worker non contracted claim the tax back on mileage expenses in the same way as a agency employee ?
    Question is i am on a zero hour contract worker working for the same employer but at no regular depot so travel different depots different days and the claim submitted to hmrc came back as not meeting the conditions but i dont see how i am now different than when i was an agency worker but allowing to claim ?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Rick, I should think so but it would be best for you to check directly with the HMRC as they obviously understand the rules such schemes are operated under. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • lee mactavish

    hello i am on a 0hr contract work via a agency but have been here for a few months and my job where i work someone always has to be able to do my role as its law. i dont understand why i dont have a real contract from the paying or via the agency. does anyone know if this is aloud

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Lee, thanks for your message. I’m afraid there is nothing to stop this happening, neither are under any obligation to give you a permanent contract at the moment. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • lee mactavish

        so it doesnt matter that its law that someone in my job role has to be here and have the done the courses ive had to do. when there are other people here doing different jobs on full time contracts. if not can you ask to be payed by the agency as self employed person so i can get more of my money? thanks

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Lee, under Regulations an agency can only pay you as self-employed if you set yourself up as a Limited Company/you work through an Umbrella company. They cannot pay you as self-employed and deduct no tax. Lesley

  • KadenLayden

    Hi there, looking for some independent advice please. I’ve been working for over a year officially on a zero hour contract. Despite this, I have been working for the same number of hours every week with no break in service. I work alongside colleagues who are doing the exact same job with the exact same hours but on permanent contracts. They are entitled to full employee benefits in contrast to myself who is not, as I am not officially classed as an employee despite the working relationship being very fixed and regular. Do I have any claim here?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Kaden, thanks for your message. Are you able (or have you) spoken to anyone at work about this, as it does sound as though you should be treated as on par with your permanent colleagues. If your Employer won’t budge on this then they only real way, at the moment, that you can challenge this is to take a case to an Employment Tribunal to establish your employee ‘status’ – obviously that may not be something you want to do. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • KadenLayden

        Hi, thanks for your reply.

  • Mandy Phillips

    Hi, I have been working on a zero hours contract in the NHS. I was originally through an agency then the hospital set up their own Flexible Clerical Bank and I had to transfer onto that if I wanted to carry on doing my job. This was in July 2013. I got on really well with everyone but last week a complaint was made about me by an Apprentice (who I have always got on with and who has said on many occasions she enjoys working with me because I am such a laugh). This complaint was put in writing and I’m sure the young lady concerned had words put to her as she wouldn’t have understood what some of the words in her statement meant. I was supposed to be covering Maternity Leave up until September this year. However I was called in to the Managers office with my immediate supervisor (no representative was offered and I genuinely had no idea what the meeting was about) on Friday at 3.30pm and because the word ‘intimidated’ was used my contract was terminated. This has put us under immense pressure and I would like to know if there is anything at all I can do. I am sure I have right to an appeal but don’t want to put myself through this if there is a high chance I wouldn’t get anywhere. I cannot believe that in this day and age people can be treated in this way. If I was an employee the most I would have got would have been a verbal warning and even this would have been over the top. I know there are people at risk in our HR Department (I was working in Recruitment) and I’m sure this was an excuse to make way for one of them. If they had been upfront with me about this and explained they needed to protect employees at risk I would have accepted it but the way the have done this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Mandy, thanks for your message. Do you know if the disciplinary policy/procedures in the NHS apply to casual staff too, as they may do? Obviously, if they do, then the procedures should have been followed. If they don’t apply then I would write to them to express your unhappiness about what happened – it probably won’t achieve much but would be worth putting the situation down in writing, you never know. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Samantha

    Hello, I have been working in a local government office for almost 4 years (31st March), initially just as an admin assistant but over the last few years my role and responsibilities have progressed, and salary adjusted accordingly, but I am STILL being paid through an employment agency so work like a dog where some permanent menbers of staff hget away with doing as little as possible, I love my job and i think i deserve for it to become permanent, have I got any rights??

    • Samantha

      I really hoped that someone would have replied to my post lol. Surely working continually for the same team for four years counts for something, doesnt it? a collleague said there may be a clause in the 2002 employment act in relation to casual employees and when they should no longer be classed as casual, I know a little about the new apw rules but there is no mention of when a casual employee should become permanent, and I read up that if they had employed me on a fixed term renewable contract on the furth renewal or the fourth year of servcie the job would automatically be legally mine ? :.

      Please someone respond, I want to get my facts straight before I speak to one of the senior members of staff next /Monday

      • lesleyfurber

        Hi Samantha, I did reply, I remember doing so. Basically there may be occasions when an agency worker (which is different from a casual worker) can become permanent – you can read more here http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/legal-advice/can-an-agency-worker-ever-become-permanent-at-the-company-they-work-for/

        Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

        • Samantha

          hello Lesley,

          Many thanks for your response, as I work within a decent homes team of local government offices, Ive heard back from the HR team, and they tell me basically in a nutshell I have no legal right to request my job be made permanent, I am entitled to apply for any job advertised from any department except in the circumstances of a restructure when permanent employees could face redundancy t so even if i applied anyway no-one would be allowed to consider me if anyone permanent met the criteria /could do the same job as me (but they cant)

          I feel quite disappointed after making such an effort to work hard, even when i was assaulted 2 years ago i took 2 days off work and still came in, mainly because i was worried i wouldn’t be able to pay bills/rent, in comparison to some permanent staff who take a week off if they break a nail or sneeze. :(

          ……… they will say (though I have no formal contract of any kind in writing) that I am a temporary worker, and employed for the duration for however long that they are given decent homes funding.

          thank you anyway Lesley

          • lesleyfurber

            Hi Samantha, unless you are prepared to challenge your Employer about your ‘employment status’ at a Tribunal then I’m afraid there is not much you can do really about this. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • nas

    Hi I’ve been working for a security company for 10months and i have always worked on the same site for the last 10months i have had regular work every week can you tell me if i qualify for a tupe transfer as the company is changing contracts in april thanks the only reason im asking because im on a 0 hour contract thanks

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Nas, thanks for your message. The answer will depend if you are seen as an ‘employee’ or not; if you are an employee then you should be covered by the TUPE transfer. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • nas

    Just to say im on a 0 hour contract

  • nas

    Yes thanks for the answer mate i have had a letter last week stating i am on variable hours now for that work place so i don’t know if that makes any difference thanks

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Nas, it’s still going to depend if you are classed as a ‘worker’ or an employee – your contract should describe your employment status, it depends how it is worded. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • nas

    Thanks lesley appericated

  • Christine King

    Can I ask two questions please? I’m just being engaged on a zero hours contract. If I am paid less than £149 i a week I don’t pay NI. If I were paid £250 in one week and nothing in the next do I pay NI as on average it’s less? Also, I’m told if I do pay NI I have to pay both employees’ and employers’ NI which isn’t going to leave much for me. Is this correct please? Many thanks

    • lesleyfurber

      hi Christine, I can’t help re the ‘averaging’ of NI as I dont’ know – if you search there are several ‘payroll’ forums on the internet so they should be able to help with this. However, you should not have to pay your employers NI contribution! The Employer should do that. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Alan Taylor

    Hi,I am about to start working with a senior care ageny.
    I have attended for about six hours to watch DVD’s and fill in question/answer sheets.
    I was told passing these these were a pre condition of being employed hence unpaid hours.
    Being Health and Safety based and I would assume Mandatory by law ,should the agency be paying for this.?
    I have brought some home which have taken a further five to six hours in total.
    Also I need to attend a Moving and Handling session next week for two to three hours also unpaid(and mandatory by law i believe to cover the ageny).

    I have also paid up front for (yet another) CRB/DBS check which i can also not claim back.
    Should I rock the boat even before I start?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Alan, thanks for your message. I understand that this practice is quite normal and if you are not yet actually employed by the agency, then it may be legal if you are not ‘working’ as such yet. I understand your concerns though, but I think this is something that is quite common. I understand that CRB/DBS are now portable, so you take them with you to each employer, so it also now may be normal for you to pay for them as it will not need to be repeated for a while. Good luck with your new job. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Cerebro De Sucrilho

    Hi and congrats for this great website!
    I have a question, which is kind of urgent to me:
    I have been working at a restaurant for 3 years now. I take my full holiday pay, work 40 hours a week, they pay my NI, the whole thing. Now…i was offered a zero hour contract today, along with everyone else at the restaurant. If i sign it, will i loose my protection under law, since i’ve been there for more than 2 years? I really need to know if i shall sign it or not….also they put a 6week notice and an exclusivity clause on it, saying i CANT work anywhere else(!!??)
    Please….give me some light on this one:))))

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Cerebro, thanks for you message. What sort of contract did you have with them before they offered you the new zero-hour contract? And is the zero-hour contract a casual workers contract or an employee contract (zero-hours contracts can be full employee contracts). If it is an employee contract then the exclusivity clause is pretty normal, however if it is a casual workers zero-hours contract then the exclusivity clause should not be there. If you had an employees contract before and they are now offering you a casual zero-hours contract then effectively you could say you have been dismissed as they are changing your terms and conditions drastically – more details about changing your contract terms and conditions are here – http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/written-statements-and-contracts/

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Tanya

    HI there i have been working as a support worker for a company for 3 years i have a permerant contract for 35 hours per week i have now been told by staff they are taking away my contract and only offering a zero hour contract is this allowed.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Tanya, thanks for your message. Your Employer can change your terms and conditions but they must do this properly – more details are here http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/written-statements-and-contracts/

      If your Employer is changing your contract from an employees contract to a ‘casual workers’ contract then you could make a claim for constructive/unfair dismissal potentially. Your zero hours contract could be a permanent employees contract though, as this is possible. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • dave

    Hi i work for a company i started im april 2012.Im rotad regular hours and im on a rota so therefore find it hard to seek other jobs.The company provides all the tools i work with.Am i a employee?.As im om a rota told what time i have to work and if i finish at 9pm i have to work till 7am.Surely this is not casul as were on a rota and the employer has us on a zero hour contract so we have no employee rights and have to pay no NI and tax on wages.I was brought into the office and told if i did sumthing again he would just get rid off me .i had no chance to say my points off views.I was just wondering do i have any employee rights as surely every company could employ someone on a zero hour contract and rota sumone hours just so the employee has no rights.And if i am.a employee surely my employer shouldnt be threatning me as he did regards

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Dave, thanks for your message. I don’t have enough information to know if you are an employee or not – more details and some ‘tests’ to determine your status are here – http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/resources/am-i-an-employee-self-employed-freelance-or-a-worker/

      However, even if you are a worker and not an employee (which you should be if you are on a zero-hours contract) then you should be paid via PAYE so have tax and NI deducted from you and you have entitlement to holiday pay based on the hours you work and entitlement to SSP payments if you are sick and meet the qualifying conditions.

      Hope that helps. Good luck. Lesley, Workline

      • dave

        Hi lesley reading the information you gave me.I’m still not sure if im a employee.I am taxed and pay national insurance every month and i do recieve holiday pay.Im on a rota every week and my employer gives me all the tools i have to carry my work out with.Also i do the jobs my boss should be doing all the training etc.Also were paid every month the same date and the money goes directly.into my bank and we recieve a monthly pay slip as the employees do.For my boss to call me in the office and threatning me as he did surely he should be calling a meeting and folowing proper procedure?.The problem is i’ve only been there 23 months if i do manage to stay there another month and they carry on threatning me would.i have a case for constructive dissmisal or if the get rid off me after 2 years service with not following proper employment procedure would i have case for unfair dissmisal ?,i know the law changes on 6th april 2012 having to work 2 years.Thanx a lot for your time lesley much appreciated kind regards
        0 Edit Reply

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Dave, basically you would need to take a case to an Employment Tribunal (for unfair dismissal etc) and they would decide your employment status there – if they decided you were an employee you would have unfair dismissal rights. Good luck, regards, Lesley

  • Donna Corah

    Hi I work in a pub on a zero hours contract, does my boss have to pay me holiday pay, and if so how would this be calculated, as I work variable hours, they say I accrue 7.2 mins for each hour I work, so when I take holiday it will be paid from what i’ve accrued, is this correct and is it legal, I feel they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes, as before the new boss took over I got 5.6weeks pro-rota. If anyone can shed light on this situation I would really appreciate it. Thank you

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Donna, thanks for your message. Holiday pay for those on zero hours or other casual contracts is complicated, as it should be paid at the time you want to take it, but in reality that is unlikely to happen. What your Employer should do is calculate the holiday pay you are due based on the hours you have worked, at 12.07% of each hour worked; make sure the holiday pay is itemised seperately on your pay slip and contract from your basic working rate; and give you the choice of when you want to be paid for the holiday. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • Donna Corah

        Hi Lesley Thanks for your reply, I can take holidays when I wish but i’m trying to work out my entitlement, would I be entitled to the 5.6 weeks like other full time workers or not, as my boss seems to make up his own rules.
        Thanks Donna

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Donna, you are entitled to 5.6 weeks but pro-rata’d to the actual hours you work. Regards, Lesley, Workline

          • Donna Corah

            Hi Lesley thank you for your reply, sorry to be a pain but can you tell me if my boss is breaking the law, what he does is put away 7.2 mins worth of pay for every hour I work so if I work 10 hours he puts away 72 mins worth of pay, my hours are variable. In 9 months he says i’ve got 32 hours holiday accrued in money at £6.45 per hour, but on average I work 14 hours per week, this to me does not seem right, i’ve tried to discuss this with him but he says it’s his business and thats how he does it. Is there anything I can download and give to him explaining what he should be paying me. Thanks once again for all the help.
            Regards Donna

          • lesleyfurber

            Hi Donna, the calculation of 7.2 minutes is correct. But he must pay that for all the hours you work – do you have payslips saying how many hours you work as you could calculate how many hours you’ve worked and so how much holiday you are due. This page may help – https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights
            Regards, Lesley

  • antony

    Hi I worked for a cleaning company for about 5 years on zero hours and now they want rid of the team of lads they say we arent cost affected so they want rid all I want to know is do we have any rights or is that it

  • James

    Hi, a new company has taken over the business (coffee shop) where i have been employed as assistant manager for past 3 years should my position be carried over under tupe regs, plus they are insisting I work a set 6 day week where as the previous company had me on a 4/5 day week.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi James, thanks for your message. I’m afraid I can’t help with TUPE queries as I have little experience of it. There must be TUPE related forums you could search for? Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Deborah

    Hi I have been working for a company for the last six months on a zero hours contract. Three other people were taken on at the same time on the same contracts. I have recently discovered that one of these people has now been given a permanent, fixed hours contract but neither of the other two or myself have been offered such a contract. Is this fair and/or legal under equal opportunities? Thanks.

    • lesleyfurber

      hi Deborah, thanks for your message. I’d agree this is not fair (you should ideally have all been given the opportunity to compete for the permanent post) but I’m not sure it it illegal, unless there are discrimination issues (which obviously I don’t know). Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • Deborah

        I see. Many thanks for responding anyway. Deborah

  • roberta pudney

    Hiya, I have been working for a preschool for 18 months on a variable contract. 3 new members of staff have been taken on and given 16 hour minimum contracts. The other 3 members of staff including myself are still on varaible hours. The new staff started in May. Today i have been told that my hours have been reduced to 10 along with the other long term staff, The 3 new members have 16 hours. Is this allowed? Many thanks.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Roberta, thanks for your message. It’s going to depend whether you are employed as a permanent member of staff or as a ‘worker’ – the contract could be either but the contract should say how you are employed. If you are a ‘worker’ and not permanent then there is nothing to stop your Employer doing this. If you are a permanent member of staff then changing your terms and conditions is not quite so simple, but can still be done – you can read more details about changing contracts here – http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/written-statements-and-contracts/
      Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • silvana negrea

    hello, I was hired by a care agency that promised me a lot of shifts in my area. The consultant that was in charge with my case messed me about for 3 weeks about giving me shift, telling me that he needs to confirm them, taking 2 days to do so, chasing him up every day. Every day they found excuses: I didn’t have this training certificate, then I didn’t provide them with sufficient proof of address, then they found smth else. In the end I did one shift for them and I had big problems with the timesheet, my consultant telling me not to worry about it and then sending me repeated emails with the timesheet that needed signing, then he was waiting for shift confirmation and he was going to let me know the next day….of course the next day he was off and so on and so forth. I was very prompt with providing them all the documents they asked for every time and doing the online training and I had to chase them up for weeks regarding my shifts. Also I kept getting emails from them URGENT! do this training, etc so I did it and let them know and had no reply from them so again had to chase them up…I have asked them to pay me for my shift already as I did this on the 4th of August and to refund my DBS money back which my consultant told me they can’t do because it is non-refundable. Do I not have any rights to take any legal actions against them? They have caused me loss of earnings, I cannot afford my rent now.i have been unable to book job interviews because every day I was being promised shifts… I want more than just 1 shifts money….I don’t think I was treated right. This is in the UK..

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Silvana, thanks for your message. You don’t say what type of contract you are employed on, but I guess it is a zero hours contract? If that is the case, then they don’t guarantee you any work at all, so you cannot do anything about the fact they have not given you work. If they gave you a guaranteed number of hours per week in your contract, and this has not happened, then they are in breach of your contract and you should have been paid for all the hours you are contracted for. Hope that helps. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline