Updated for 2016.

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 are below on this progress.
  • 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.
  • See our June update about zero-hours contracts here and the Government review of these types of contracts.
  • 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.
  • 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 the consultation that started at the end of August 2014 here.
  • In March 2015 the Government published draft legislation (the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently before Parliament) to make exclusivity clauses unenforceable among staff whose have a mixture of low pay and low guaranteed hours of work each week.  And said an hours and pay threshold will be introduced.
  • On 26th May 2015 exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts became illegal – which means that any clause that stops a worker “doing work or performing services” under another contract (with another employer) or stops the worker from doing so “without the employer’s consent” will be unenforceable by the employer.  However, the implications of this change are limited as the worker has no way, yet, of complaining if they suffer any ‘detriment’ from an employer trying to enforce this clause.  The Government published the draft ‘Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015, in November, and this became law on 11th January 2016, which means that zero hours workers will have a right not to be unfairly dismissed if the reason for this dismissal is that they failed to comply with an exclusivity clause (no qualifying period needed); and they have a right not to subjected to any detriment because they failed to comply with an exclusivity clause.

In 2015 a Zero-Hours contract worker, who feared reporting allegations of sexual harassment by her line manager, in case she lost her job, was awarded £19,500 for sexual harassment (S v Britannia Hotels Ltd).  The Tribunal was very critical of the employer’s investigation and there failure to follow up the worker’s complaints, the lack of any clear action against the alleged perpertrator and the long delay in completing the investigation.

In October 2015 the Government published Guidance for Employers on Zero-Hours Contracts – how to use, them, what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to use them.  You can read the guidance here.

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 an interesting 2013 case, Borrer v Cardinal Security Ltd, Borrer was a Security Guard for Cardinal Security for 4 years.  His main place of work was at Morrisons in Brighton, where he worked for 2 years on a regular 48 hour week.  His Contract with Cardinal (which could be described as a zero-hours contract) did not specify his hours of work but said “your working hours will be specified by your line manager”.

When working at Morrisons Brighton he was informed about his hours of work by text message from his manager or by contacting the control centre.  In October 2011 Morrisons made a complaint about Borrer and requested that he be moved from the Brighton store (as they were entitled to under the contract with the security company).  Mr Borrer worked for other clients and a few weeks later was offered a full time position with Morrisons Seaford store, where he worked for the next few weeks  The Manager of the Seaford store was also unhappy with him and eventually Cardinal found him shifts at another of their clients.  Borrer told Cardinal he was resigning because he was not being offered enough hours – during that conversation he was offered a full-time position of 38 hours per week at another store in Brighton.  A week later he wrote to Cardinal confirming his resignation, claiming Cardinal were in breach of contract and rejecting their statement he was on a zero-hours contract.

The original Employment Tribunal found that there was nothing to imply that he worked a fixed number of hours per week (48) and there was no breach of contract, so he could not claim unfair constructive dismissal.   The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed the appeal and found that Borrer had been contractually entitled to work his claimed 48 hours per week (and there was no doubt he was an employee).

In 2015, in Smith v Carillion (JM) Ltd, the Court of Appeal confirmed that a contract could not be implied between an agency worker and the end-user of his services, unless it was necessary to do so.  The Court also made it clear that is not against public policy for an end-user to obtain services by using agency staff, even if the purpose of doing so is to avoid legal obligations (which would otherwise arise if the agency worker was directly employed by the end-user).  Although, in this case, there were various potential indicators that Mr Smith had employee or worker status with the end-user, the Court decided that none of these factors were necessarily inconsistent with a genuine agency worker arrangement.

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

  • Jezzer

    Hi there, I’ve worked for a pub company for a total of 6 years, with a gap in between employment once, this current term is around 2 years give or take, I’ve been on a zero hour contract recently, there is a grey area in the date of this as it turns out a recent ex manager was supposed to have started our new zero hour contracts quite some time ago, so it could be recently or not… For around 90% of my employment I’ve been working 30+ hours a week as a senior member of the team, I had responsibilities for the general running and maintenance of the business including end of day paperwork, safe access, shift management and ensuring the security of the premises, a holding manager was recently brought in after the previous manager was fired for gross misconduct, I have since applied for the managers position as previous in my last term I served as a manager for the same company, (I left on good terms to pursue further education, I then returned to help out and pay towards my education) this week the holding manager dropped my hours from near full time, to under 16 hours and has promoted a junior member of staff to assistant manager above myself to help her with duties I’ve been doing for near enough my entire time for the company, my questions are can they rightfully just cut my hours in half after so long working for the company with no notice at all? It’s also worth noting that every male member of staff is being treated with less respect that the female members of staff as both manager and new trainee assistant manager are both friends and female and another member of staff dismissed during the time of the change in management was rehired even tho her 3 month trial period showed she was not capable of working effectively at the job, I feel as I had applied for the managers position I should have at least been consulted about the assistant managers role as 1. The holding manager was supposed to be temporary and 2. That it should have been offered for application when it seems now this temporary measure is now becoming more long term

    Sorry about the lack of editing but my iphone disagrees with your comment box


  • steve

    hi i have being working on a temporary contract and was given dates for this contract and now they have cut the contract short by 3 days will i still be entitled to be paid for them 3 days.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Steve, thanks for your message – unless you were employed as an employee on a fixed term contract (I’m assuming not) then it’s unlikely they will pay you for these 3 days – unless your contract says otherwise. You could always ask, no harm in asking, you never know! However, I think it’s unlikely. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • bonev

    Hi there.i m about to start worting on a casual cotract(zero hours)can please someone tell me about the paid holidays that i will have,because basicly i will work 40h per week.does this means i will not have any paid holidays sinse i am on that kind of cotract?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Bonev, thanks for your message. You are entitled to holidays – but you entitlement will be worked out based on the hours you actually work. So if you work a full week then you are entitled to ‘full’ holiday entitlement. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Babs

    HI, I’ve been employed with an agency on a 0 hours contract for 6 months
    or so, and have been signed off sick, due to stress i was constantly
    chasing the agency up about shifts and hours money etc. it’s getting to much. I want to know
    on a 0 hours contract what would happen if I asked to be taken off their
    books due to this fact and the fact I’m signed off sick now or what
    would happen if I voluntarily gave in my notice due to the fact I’m not
    getting enough hours. Would i be entitled to any help with benefits
    afterwards – say if i went to sign on and explained to them why I left
    the job or could i have a claim suspended or get no help at all. I’m
    currently having trouble paying bills and rent. Thank you Babs

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Babs, thanks for your message. I’m afraid I can’t help you on the benefit front – you need to ask the Job Centre Plus what would happen – the fact that you are on a 0 hours contract should help I would have thought. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR KIosk

  • kirsty

    Hi iv worked for a company now for 5 months I am on zeor hours but every week I meet 37-40 hours some days ill be placed on a 15 hour shift am I entitled to a break as they are staying I am not entitled due to working in a residential care home ?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Kirsty, because of the work you are doing you are likely to be exempt from the need for a break – but your Employers should be able to arrange a break for you on such a long shift, especially if they are a big employer. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Joe


    I’ve been working for local government for over 18 months in an office based roll as a casual member of staff. My hours have been set out to me as mon-fri, 9-5 – expect for holiday and the odd sick day, i have fulfilled these hours, as i am expected to. I still fill in time sheets every month, i am not entitled to sick pay and my holiday is accrued against hours worked and not on a yearly basis. I do not receive many of the benefits full members of staff receive, i have to save my holidays so that i do not go unpaid if i need a sick day, i am not eligible to use the staff training hub and i am very wary about speaking my mind or objecting to increase work loads against those of full-time staff members in case i risk my position.
    I feel i have pretty much been screwed over and i am still vulnerable to losing my job at the drop of a hat (despite no indication of this from management). In your opinion, do I have any rights?

    Thank you in advance.

    • dana

      Hi Joe, did you ever get an answer? Your query is very familiar to my situation and I’m in the process of being made redundant without redundancy pay after over four years full time work. Need to get as much info as possible right now and your comment stuck out. S

      • Hi Dana, I’m pretty sure I replied to Joe (sometimes the replies don’t always show up). If you are a casual member of staff then you are a worker, so you will not be entitled to redundancy pay but you are entitled to SSP sick pay (if you meet the qualifying conditions) and are entitled to holiday based on the hours you work. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Zoe

    Hi I started working on a night home care about 5 weeks ago iv been pulling extra shifts when staff are off sick I thought my new job sounded really good to find out last night I’m on a zero hour contract I was not told this at any time from my interview till my college told me last night where do I stand as a left my contacted job for this one as the hours were better

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Zoe, thanks for your message. Was there are any paperwork before you got offered the job – i.e. job advert, job description etc that might have described the terms of the job? Unless the Employer has deliberately not told you the truth (but just ommitted to tell you the details) there is not much you can do I’m afraid – can you talk to anyone at your new Employers and discuss this with them? Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • Zoe

        Thank you the add said night care worker wanted for 2/3 nights a week iv been doing 3/4 5/6 nights a week iv emailed HR today to confirm this but no reply I can’t stay if it is because I have 3 children and have not been given a contract ether so I think I’m up a creak with out paddle

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Zoe, unfortunately there won’t be a lot you can do about this now I’m afraid. Good luck for the future. Lesley

  • Angel Leung

    Hi there, I am having trouble with the place i am working with. It is a 0 hour contract. I want to clarify this statement that was given to me by one of the management team on food during rest breaks; ‘According to employment law, you (as in the workers) are not allow food when you have only worked for 2 hours. You are allow food if you have worked for 4 hours and above.’

    I have looked up and read all employment laws and acts in the UK related to that statement, however, non of them have stated anything about or similar to that statement. I would like to have more details about this as I am working as a steward in a stadium (the stadium provides food for all workers).

    Many thanks

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Angel, thanks for your message. I would agree with you that there is nothing in employment law that I’m aware of about food. This is obviously a Company policy, which they can do, but they should make it clear that this is the case and not try to confuse it with the law. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

      • Angel Leung

        Thanks Lesley! thank you for your reply.It helps to back up the argument.

      • Angel Leung

        This is what one of the manager reply back.

        Legally the RFU do not have to provide any food to anyone at anytime ( the same as any employer ) it’s a bonus you only legally have to provide fluids ( tap water is the minimum)

        Also none of you are on a zero hour contract you are on a casual contract with un disclosed hours.

        Does this means their so called law is against the company policy, if so what can I do to fight back as such?


        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Angel, no they are not doing anything wrong, they do not have to provide you with food or food breaks; the only provision they need to make for breaks is to let you have 20 minutes off (usually unpaid) when you work more than 6 hours. Regards, Lesley

      • Angel Leung

        Thanks for replying me . The massage below is what one of the manager replies back. Does this means it is the company policy and what can I do to fight backfire my rights as what had happened to me. Please advice and thanks again.

        Legally the RFU do not have to provide any food to anyone at anytime ( the same as any employer ) it’s a bonus you only legally have to provide fluids ( tap water is the minimum)

        Also none of you are on a zero hour contract you are on a casual contract with un disclosed hours

  • Jess

    Hi i have worked for the same company for approx 6 years i work 6 days and have done for many months with an average of 270 hours per month, we have recently all been put onto zero hour contracts, which i understand still entitles us to the normal 28 days holiday for full time. however i have booked off 7 weeks in April/may for a long holiday, i would like to know were i stand in being paid for this holiday, as i have worked for them for a long period of time do i have to accrue the holiday before i can be paid it? or could i be paid all 28 days if i wanted to? Thank you

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Jess, yes you are entitled to 28 days if you work full time. However, you would probably only get paid for the holiday you have accrued up to that point in April; can you ask them to clarify? Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • allison

    Hi i have recently left a cleaning job which i had only been doing for about 3-4 weeks. I was given a casual contract which stated no info for notice period, i resigned on my last day of working but my manager said i should give 2 weeks notice. I have looked at my contract and handbook and it says nothing about 2 weeks notice, infact it says nothing. They are saying I will have monies deducted for not giving any notice, can they do this?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Alison, legally you need to give 1 weeks’ notice once you have been there a month (unless you contract says otherwise). Therefore, as you have nothing in writing about the notice period you are required to give, your Employer should not keep you to this. They must pay you for the work you have done, but they do not need to pay you for any period of notice that you have not worked. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Kayleigh

    Hi, I’ve been working at a company for 3 years, it’s a zero hour/casual contract, but there’s always work and I class it as my main job. I love my job, however my boss has had a problem with me for the last few months- aswel as lots of other employees, but I’m definitely an easy target- and today has rang me up to sack me. Her reasons, that I’ve been late and had a couple of days off ill in the last few months. Even though I work extremely hard and go above and beyond, her mind was made up. Where do I stand on this? I feel that this is massively unfair dismissal, should I not have a written warning first? Or does it not work like that in a casual contract? I’m in complete shock and feel very sad as she would cancel shifts half an hour, if that, before they were due, yet I’ve been off ill, genuinely and it has been used against me. Is there anything I can do?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Guest, thanks for your message. On a zero hour contract you wouldn’t have unfair dismissal rights I’m afraid unless you could prove you were effectively an employee (which is hard to do). You could right to her to ‘appeal’ her decision and see if this gets you anywhere. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • immy

    Hi. I am recently employed by Homecare. I start my shift at 7am and between 7am to 11am, I visit 5 homes with an average 30mins per job and it take 1 hour 30mins between jobs in 4 hours shift. I am told by my company that they will only pay me for 2.5 hours and the time I am spending between jobs is not paid. I am just wondering if it is legal to do that, as this time is for their work. I am on Zero hour contract.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Immy, thanks for your message. You should be paid for all the time you are workign and all the time you are travelling between work clients (on work business). If there is ‘free’ time in between the work and travelliing then this doesn’t need to be paid. Hope that helps. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • John

    I personally think Zero hours contracts should be outlawed in the UK.
    The company i work for on such a contract have repeatedly given me about 6 shifts a month.
    They have also repeatedly short paid me my mileage claim.
    they send me an email with choices of work and i put in for the ones that i can attend and it’s up to them if they give me that work. However, i have repeatedly seen multiple emails requesting staff for that work after i have requested it, in other words, not allowing me to do that work.
    How am i supposed to live on a wage that is almost the same as those on benfits.
    Absolute disgrace of a company.

  • molly

    I am a ta in a school and im contracted to 25 hrs a week pro rata.. during the holidays im paid for these hours.. the thing is.. although im contracted to 25 hours, for the last 2 and a half years ive been working an extra 5 hours on the same day continuously.. during the holidays or if i am off sick im not paid for those extra hours.. should i be entitled to be contracted to them as ive been doing them for over two years and if so am i entitled to claim back pay? Thanks

    • Hi Molly, thanks for your message. Both your holiday pay and sick pay should take your extra working hours into account, more details herehttp://www.crunch.co.uk/small-business-advice/2014/11/18/overtime-to-be-calculated-in-holiday-pay/ .

      You may not need to have these hours contracted as they could have become ‘custom and practice’ – see more details herehttp://www.crunch.co.uk/small-business-advice/2011/10/21/custom-and-practice-and-employment-contract-terms/ – although obviously it’s better to get it in writing. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Liam Dobson

    At the moment I am working on a zero hours contract, for the next few weeks there is very limited work and I will only be getting about £100 in wages, this is not enough to cover my rent and living costs. Can I claim any benefits to subsidise my wages in this decresed period.

    • Hi Liam, yes I’m sure you can, you need to go to a JobCentre Plus to see. Regards, Lesley

    • David Holden

      Hi Liam, i am in a similar situation, i work casual hrs for a removal company which means my hrs are up and down, i claim housing benefit, i think you can claim council tax as well if needed. You need to go to your local one stop shop or council, take your pay slips or copies of as they will not photocopy them anymore as many as you have, they will decide what if anything they can pay you towards your rent, it will go direct to you if they pay anything, hope this helps.

  • Lucee Gibson

    Hello, I am working a 0 hour contract but have 14 hours every week and sometimes more if extra shifts arise. However I have an interview next week for a full time job, if I do get the job would I have to hand a notice in? Thanks for any help or advice!

    • Hi Lucee, thanks for your message. You need to check your contract to see if contains a notice period. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

      • Lucee Gibson

        On the contract it says a minimum of two weeks notice but when talking to my employer they said six weeks notice. Which seems quite a long time.

        • Hi Lucee, if your contract says 2 weeks then that is the minimum you should need to give; 6 weeks does sound a lot! Good luck. Lesley

          • Lucee Gibson

            My current employer has stated they don’t want me to leave and has offered me a full time employment. So confused.mbut thankyou for all your advice. ?

          • No problem, good luck! Lesley

  • John Humphray

    When can an employee on a zero hour contract take their holiday entitlement? I have no hours in the rota but have 10 hours holiday accrued. i want to ‘bank/cash’ those hours to make up for the fact i have no hours this week is it possible

    • Hi John, this is going to depend on the ‘holiday policy’ your Employer has; i.e. how much notice they need for you to request holiday. You need to ask them. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • kay

    I have staff who on average or working more than 70hrs per week, can you please advise.

    • Hi Kay, thanks for your message. Are you wanting advice about their working hours or their contracts? if they are working more than 48 hours per week they should have agreed to sign an Opt Out of the Working Time Regulations. If you can give me a bit more detail. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • kay

    I have been in my new post for 4 weeks and have no contract, I have been for an interview and expect to get the job. I get paid next Friday which will be 5 weeks with no contract can I legally leave on the day I get paid?

    • Hi Kay, if you’ve been there for 4 weeks then you would normally be expected to give 1 weeks notice. if you don’t give this notice and leave immediately then obviously you won’t be paid for the ‘notice’ period and this may affect any reference you get from the employer in the future. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Guest

    Hi I was recently on a zero hour contract but working at the same site full time I had to accrue my holidays so didn’t get my full pay for when I took holidays however I have just signed a contract which gives me 26 days a year i got told that I could take the 26 days this year as the other days wouldn’t come in to account as I had to work for them and didn’t always get paid the full amount for what I put in. I recently had holidays and got paid the full amount as its come from my 26 days holiday however I have holidays again coming up but I’ve been told that I will not get paid for them as I don’t have enough holidays yet I should still have 20 days. Is there anything I can do about this?

  • Richard James Colley

    Hi im working as a 0 hour contract at my place I been 0 hours for 3 years now I been waiting for a full time job to arise when it did I had interview but didn’t get it but 3 member of staff did who wasnt doing my job for that long that was back in February, and I had a unsuccessful letter for a full time position going this month and staff that got interviews not been here longer then 6 months what do I do?

    • Hi Richard, thanks for your message. There isn’t much you can do here I’m afraid as you are not entitled to be given a full-time job automatically. What you should do though is ask for feedback about why you are not geting a full-time job and see if there is anything more you can do to increase your chances next time. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Emma Bullen

    hi im a community carer on a zero hour contract we get 16p per mile but my employer is saying if we have a 30 min gap or more between clients then they dont have to pay us
    any mileage from that client to the next …. is this correct as i have a lot of 30 min gaps and find i only get paid half of the petrol im using if im lucky

  • tim

    HI I am a casual worker in the council. I am currently paid overtime rate for working sat and sundays. however they are trying to change this.. so that only full and part-time employees get the increased rate…. is this legal.

    • hi Tim, thanks for your message. I don’t think this is illegal (unless you are an agency worker employed through an agency, when you will have other rights; or if you are employed on a Fixed Term Contract where again you have rights), but I can’t see how it’s a good idea of them to do this. Have you asked them how they are justifying this? Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR KIosk

  • Jo

    Hi I work in a local kids nursery for past 11 months on zero hour contract but have continuously worked 16 hours between hours of 7.30-3pm. I told my employer I was 3 months pregnant and soon after my place of work changed (another nursery and shift pattern changed) I was then told no hours for me the next week. I then got my P45 and payslip. They refused to answer my calls. I wrote a letter and they said it was a mistake and im still employed. They then said my hours were changing and I had to work between 4-6.30pm which they know when I started I cant do as I have 2 kids to pick up from school. After 3 months and still no hours I can work They have now said I no longer work for them as they havent heard from me even though I have had to no contact from them. They also said they sent me my P45 which I havent received. Can I claim unfair dismissal and discrimination?

    • Hi Jo, thanks for your message. I would phone Acas as you probably have a case for pregnancy discrimination; possibly not for unfair dismissal probably as you have under 2 years employment with them, unless you have a case for automatically unfair dismissal for not letting you have statutory maternity leave. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Fizzy

    Hi, I am on a zero hour contract, I am guaranteed 3 shifts a week for about 6 weeks I believe maybe more but I need to find out, I’ve only been there for 4 weeks and I want to know am I entitled to holidays and how should I book them? Do I need to book them in advance, I was told I have to accrue them, what does accrue mean? Thanks

    • Hi Fizzy, you are entitled to holidays based on the hours you work. Your Employer needs to tell you how to book them and when. Accrue means you build them up depending them on the hours you work. You can work out your entitlement here – https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights
      Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Danny


    I have been working for a local authority for a little over a year on a sessional/casual agreement. I work consistently the same hours and days with the exception of working extra shifts on different days. In practice, does this arrangement give me employee status? If so, do I have a legal right to work under an employee contract as oppose to remaining on the current sessional/casual.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Danny, thanks for your message. You are not automatically entitled to become an employee – if you read the case law in the article above you will see this is not straightforward and, unless the local authority agreed to make you an employee, then it would be up to a Court to decide this. Can you ask the local authority the question and see what they say? Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Sarmi hussain

    Hello, lesley
    I really appreciate the information you and other like you give as it is really helpful.
    I currently work as a relief security officer for Corps Security, which is a zero hour contract job, but have about roughly 36hours/wk sum tyms close to 70. I do alot of mileage, to give you an estimate I bought my car in Feb on 121k, I started my job in May, my car has now seen 144k. They offer us a scheme but doesn’t give a full 45p per mile we could claim. Would I be able to claim this by leaving the company’s scheme and what proof would I hwve to show?
    Thank u

  • Dominique Jade

    I’ve recently left my job in a fast food restaurant where I was on a zero hour contract. I decided to not work my full notice and left sooner. Do they still have to pay me for the shifts I worked in their employment?

    • Hi Dominique, yes they must pay you for the shifts you actually worked (but they don’t need to pay you for the notice period you did not work). Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Sarah

    I was on a zero contract for the last 6 months, but have had my contract terminated as I did not turn up for work. When I left on the Monday I did say that I would not be in on the Tuesday as my step father had been rushed to hospital and I needed to be with my mother. I could not call in the following day as I broke my phone.
    I then received a letter saying I had lost my job. Even when I tried to explain they were not interested, do I have any rights? Can they get rid of me just like that?

  • Darren McKettrick

    I’m on a zero hour contract buy usually work 33 hours a week. I have been accused of theft but because I have been there as the longest staff member the blame has come to me over another issue and because it already seems like they have made up thier minds I’m planning to resign before hand and was wondering how this would affect me claiming back my wages, holiday pay or sick leave I still have available to me.

    • Hi Darren, thanks for your message.If you resign then you must be paid for the work that you have already done and any outstanding holiday entitlement you have accrued but not taken. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Jason

    I have been made an offer for employment after an interview, no mention at the interview with regards to casual / zero hours and the job was advertised as perminent / full time. My offer documents have come through and the contract states casual. Where do I stand on this.

    Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi Jason, sorry I’ve only just seen your comment. I’m afraid it is up to you to accept this or not, on the basis that the documents describe. You can ask them why they have done this and see what they say. But there’s really not much you can do about it I’m afraid. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • annie

    I have a zero hour contract working on the bank for a hospital. I have been wrongly accused (by an agency worker who has since been suspended herself) of inappropriate behaviour (hugging a patient) and have currently been suspended pending an investigation. This investigation has now been going on for a couple of months and is no closer to being finalised. I am a student nurse and I am worried that this will jeopardise my studies or future career at all?
    Would appreciate any advise thank you.

    • Hi Annie, thanks for your message. All you can really do at the moment is ask them what is happening and why it is taking so long. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk