to not understand zero hour contracts

(33 Posts)
Samcro Wed 03-Jun-15 17:11:10

never given it much thought until today.
how does it work, how does holiday and sickness work?

Kayakwonder Wed 03-Jun-15 17:27:14

I do not receive sick pay.

My holiday pay works out as around 10p added onto each hour's pay I receive. I therefore have to 'put this aside' otherwise going away for a week means I come back to no pay for the week.

raawwhh Wed 03-Jun-15 17:32:20

It depends on your contract some are as the previous poster has said others you acrue the holiday as you work and its given on an average of your hours per day.

Sick pay again depends on contract.

Samcro Wed 03-Jun-15 19:43:11

So does it mean less security

NRomanoff Wed 03-Jun-15 19:49:41

Yes it means less security. It works for some people not others. It depends on the contract and the employer. Some people like that they can just say no to working next week rather than having to apply for time off. But some employers have been known to punish staff by not offering hours, if they have refused before.

Done well, it can work. Its when it's done badly, it's awful.

worridmum Wed 03-Jun-15 20:10:44

it also means they can aviod the vast majoirty of employment laws

announce your pregrent? they can say we got no more hours for you in the qualifying months so you get little SMP.

Become ill no SSP for you ether as they wont have any hours for you to miss out so no SSP

and the list goes on they are horrid explotive contracts on the most part (in a minotory of cases they are good but now that the vast majority of retail and other NMW jobs use them is completely shit )

Littlef00t Wed 03-Jun-15 20:21:22

The idea is that they are used for industries where it's hard to predict workload, or workload is hugely variable eg tourist, and allow employer to offer work, and employee to decline if it doesn't suit.

Unfortunately employers offer them for regular work, allowing them to stop shifts with v little notice or comeback, and employees are penalised if they try to decline work that doesn't suit them.

unlucky83 Wed 03-Jun-15 20:44:38

We use zero hour contracts (small charity). All staff are part time and do get sick pay and special leave and holiday pay calculated on a pro rata basis. They do not earn enough to qualify for SSP and SMP. When the money is there to do it they also get decent bonuses. And it does give them more flexibility. They work very well as team and therefore they cover each other for time off for a long weekend and in fact they rarely use their sick pay allowance as they swap shifts.
The reason for the contracts being zero hours is that the income and the hours they are required to work can vary dramatically, we usually have a good idea a few months in advance every year for a year. For that year they would more or less worked fixed hours every week but in the longer term their hours cannot be guaranteed. At one point a couple of years ago it looked like everyone was going to lose their job....the whole thing was going to go under so to save it we did have to reduce their hours drastically but we did it as fairly as possible and they knew and understand why it had to be done.
If they are contracted hours it becomes a lot more complicated to change the hours and if someone did object (unlikely) it could go to tribunal. Zero hour contracts avoid that (although there is something -can't remember the proper name - where if they/you have been working pretty regular hours on a zero hour contract and your employer suddenly changes that it could still go to tribunal - and the employer would have to give good reason why they had made the change - so in the case of the pregnant worker suddenly been given less hours etc the employee would probably win.)

ragged Wed 03-Jun-15 20:48:29

There isn't a consensus definition of what is a zero hours contract.
Lots of people like them.
There are practices that can be described as exploitive which are strongly associated with what are called zero hours contracts.
Banning those specific practices would be good.

IloveJudgeJudy Wed 03-Jun-15 21:31:36

I used to be on a flexi contract. I got paid for my holidays on the basis of thre hours I'd actually worked, not on the basis of my basic hours. That's how it should be now. The law has changed.

Leafitout Wed 03-Jun-15 21:43:02

Zero hour contracts for those who claim tax credits are a nightmare. The employer will promise a garanteed twenty hours a week so you give the tax credits these hours. But these hours do not always materialise and you end up doing maybe eight hours a week. It leaves you in debt when tax credit renewal time comes as an overpayment.

Lauren83 Wed 03-Jun-15 21:45:57

Zero hours I employ get an extra 78p an hour hol pay, 10p Sounds low? It's 12.1% of what they earn back in Hol pay, they get sick pay too and bonus and other perks. Just means they get flexibility and I have staff to flex up when there's holidays and busy periods, I have some zero hour workers who wouldnt change to a contracted hours one

NickySummerbee Wed 03-Jun-15 21:51:13

I have a zero hours contract. I don't get holiday pay as I work term time only. My shifts are set out on a termly basis so by the Easter holidays I know what I am working for the summer term. I have no problems with my contract at all.

lostincumbria Wed 03-Jun-15 21:57:38

Some large retailers using variations on this now. One I know hires people on 6 hour contracts but offers them 20 hours/week. This way they cheat them out of proper holiday pay (the law has changed, but it has been challenged by unions).

unlucky83 Wed 03-Jun-15 22:03:16

I don't understand how they get tax credits wrong...everyone is paid in 'real time' - so the HMRC are told how much you have been paid every month/week every time you are paid and your employer has to say how many hours they have you down as working - so less than 16 or more than 16, 24 and 30 iirc.
It is all linked to your NI number so even if you work more than one job it shouldn't matter...or one week work 10 hrs and the next 2 -or earn £1000 or £10 a month.
They already know how much you have earned over the year (bar other income) -why they should spring an overpayment on you in April/May is beyond me ...
(Just a lot more hassle for employers ...)

ragged Wed 03-Jun-15 22:09:31

I though rules are that you are supposed to contact tax credits people if your income varies more than a fairly small amount from expected, and it's week by week. It's a right pain, can spend life on hold trying to get thru.

TiredButFine Wed 03-Jun-15 22:10:16

They can work very well if the employer is good- all the ones I have overseen have holiday pay and full pay sick, can refuse shifts/ bugger off for months then come back if you like, hours each week for all those who want them. Fine for students usually, crap if you're on tax credits.

Crappy employers have spoilt the whole thing by only offering zero hours contracts to all staff- keeping all staff in fear of not getting shifts, and doing it purely to save the cost of giving people their full employment benefits.

Although at some point in the USA in the 70's I remember I heard zero hours was when you only got paid for the seconds/minutes you worked i.e. If no customers came in the shop for an hour you didn't get paid for that hour as you hadn't served anyone, if there was a minute between customers that was a minute unpaid....

unlucky83 Wed 03-Jun-15 22:20:51

Sorry ragged didn't put that very well - you probably are supposed to contact them
...the point is you shouldn't have to because they (HMRC) already 'know' ...because your employer has had to tell them as soon or before they pay you (and if they don't they can be fined!)

Fluffcake Wed 03-Jun-15 22:54:53

I work for a care provider and we have staff on zero hours contracts. We pay a slightly enhanced hourly rate but don't pay sick or holiday pay. A lot of staff like them as they can pick and chose their shifts.

mileend2bermondsey Thu 04-Jun-15 04:22:42

I've had a few zero hour contracts in the past and they were all different. Some paid holiday pay as an increased wage of like 80p more per hour and you were supposed to set that aside to cover your holidays (never met anyone that actually did that haha!). Some just paid normal holidays and based it on how many hours per week you worked in the previous 14 weeks. Some paid holidays on a 'standard 40 hour week' though we would usually be working at least 55+ hours every week. Also some would not pay you service charge (I work in hospitality) when you were on holidays. The last time I was on zero hours contract my service charge was half of my wage so when I took holidays I was at a major disadvantage as not only was I getting paid 15-20 hours less than I would normally have, I was also missing half my usual money in service charge.

None of them paid sick pay.

Newlywed2013 Thu 04-Jun-15 10:51:47

I'm on zero hour contract. Holiday accumulates depending on how many hours worked. When I was pregnant and sufferings HG I did get a very small amount of sick pay but not a lot, maternity pay was based on the average amount I worked for so many weekd before going on Mat leave. Unfortunately due to ye hg and sickness and time off I only qualified for smp.
My boss is very good he has given me set days to come back to work which he didnt have to do, and I don't get penalised if I can't work due to dd being I'll. Also if I need more hours I can just ask and he usually is able to give them to me

JammyGem Thu 04-Jun-15 13:10:12

I'm on a zero hour contract.

I let my managers know my availability, they then let me know when they need me. No sick pay - if I'm ill I don't get paid, same with if I get sent home ill (as happened last week) We also get no notice for cancelled shifts, as in we can arrive at work and be told we're not needed anymore, but I assume that's the same in any shift work.

I get a little extra added to my paycheck every month to count as holiday pay, the amount depending on how many hours I've worked.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it. Was fine when I was a student but as soon as I relied on the money to pay all my rent and bills etc., it's a nightmare worrying whether I'll get enough shifts this month per not.

JammyGem Thu 04-Jun-15 13:13:13

We can also have our hours dropped completely at no notice - a few of my colleagues that were unreliable etc. just stopped being given shifts with the warning or notice. Leaves you in constant fear of losing your job

I really hate my zero hour contract

NKfell Thu 04-Jun-15 14:09:37

I'm on zero hours but do get sick pay and I my holidays build up depending on hours.

I think there is obviously lots of wiggle room for bosses to be horrible with zero hours but my boss is lovely so I might be in the minority but I like my zero hours contract.

LuisSuarezTeeth Thu 04-Jun-15 14:15:41

They are the work of the devil. Unless you can be sure you can manage without any hours at all, there is no security.

The reality of "availability" is that you get all the hours foisted on you and end up working 6am to 10pm for peanuts. When you try to say you are not available after working 10 days straight, you are either guilt-tripped into doing it or the following week you get no hours. (This is care work).

You can claim SSP for 4 or more consecutive days. It makes claiming benefits incredibly complex. It's shit. I'd ban them.

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