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Zero Hours contracts – friend or foe?

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When it comes to employing people, it’s all about open and honest communication, clear processes and documentation and legal compliance. Easy!

Zero-hours contracts have made some pretty damning headlines over recent months but are employers who still use them making a big mistake?

Like most things, it’s about using the right tool for the job. The world of contractual legislation is a minefield and that’s before we get onto what defines someone a “worker” as opposed to an “employee” in the eyes of the law and the differing rights associated with each status!

In simple terms, the CIPD defines a zero-hours contract as “an agreement between two parties that one may be asked to perform work for another but there is no minimum set contracted hours.  The contract will provide what pay the individual will get if he or she does work and will deal with circumstances in which work may be offered and possibly turned down”.

So, you’re recruiting or doing some well-advised ” housekeeping” reviewing the contracts for current staff, the advice is simple: -

  1. Be clear about what you expect from them

  2. Be clear what they can expect from you

Once you have ascertained the above, you will have a good basis as to what the employment relationship will look like and a contract can be drawn up to pull all of this together legally.

The CIPD make a very valid and sensible point: -

“zero-hours contracts work best when the flexibility that they provide works for both the employer and the individual. These types of working arrangements are most suited to situations where work fluctuates unexpectedly and where consequently the employer cannot always guarantee work.”

If your business is one with fluctuating staffing needs or where you cannot commit to set hours then a zero-hours contract may become your best friend. If you are using them to simply provide the bare minimum yet have extensive expectations of your staff they may be less friendly in the long run!

For more information on this topic and others, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see the links below.

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Guest Wednesday, 29 November 2023