Zero hours- can any work be compulsory?

(13 Posts)

Am hoping for words of wisdom here!

I've been employed on a zero hours contract for almost a year and work varying shifts from week to week.

A staff meeting is scheduled monthly and everyone is expected to attend on one of the two sessions. I've been to them all so far, as they have fallen on days I am already at work.

However, the next one is on a day I am not due to work (I never work on the day the alternative meeting is on). We get paid for 2 hours to attend the meeting but I have an hour's journey each way, and after paying tax, NI and my fares to get there, I'd be left with about the price of a pack of cigarettes for giving up an entire evening of precious family time hmm

So, as I am on a ZERO hour contract, surely they cannot insist on me working 2 hours per month? They are clamping down on non-attendees and threatening disciplinary action. I called ACAS but they said it was a grey area. Help please!

Gumby Mon 30-Jan-12 16:18:55

I would go
In the future you might want to increase your hours so if you see it as a long term investment rather than a couple of hours it's worth it

flowery Mon 30-Jan-12 16:28:07

It will depend on the wording of your contract. What exactly does it say about working hours and the level of choice you get in accepting or refusing hours?

It's a difficult one. My current (one sheet) contract says my hours are zero.

Reality is that we are rota'd according to business needs. The latest staff handbook says that we are expected to attend meetings but half the stuff in there- by their own admission- does not relate to zero hour staff.

xmyboys Mon 30-Jan-12 18:55:19

Slight side question here?
Why do employers use zero hour contracts?
How do they work out your holiday entitlement? Is thus based on actual hours worked?

Grevling Mon 30-Jan-12 19:03:48

"Why do employers use zero hour contracts? "

Because if there is no work they don't have to pay you.

flowery Mon 30-Jan-12 19:32:55

So it says nothing about how hours will be arranged or offered, or about the employer having no obligation to offer hours and/or the employee having no obligation to accept offers, or anything like that?

If it literally says hours are zero and nothing further you could probably refuse, although whether it would be sensible to do so if you want to keep working for them is a different matter.

xmyboys flexibility really. OP has said she works varying shifts week to week, which is typical. Sometimes an employer might need lots of hours from people, then it might go very quiet with very little or no need. Holiday is worked out on actual hours worked, yes, usually averaging it out over a period of time.

Thanks for your replies. I fished out the contract and it says that during periods of employment I will be required to work over a seven day week including bank holidays, with hours varying according to business need.

It's as clear as mud really...

flowery Tue 31-Jan-12 13:03:50

Well from that paragraph, sounds as though the hours you are required to work may take place at any time of the week, regardless of whether it's a bank holiday, and may vary. But 'required' is the key. The phrase isn't 'the hours you are offered to work', it's about you being 'required' to work.

So I think you need to attend I'm afraid.

I was afraid you might say that sad

squawkparrot Wed 01-May-13 18:13:42

Gumby's answer is best. Go.

flowery Wed 01-May-13 18:45:28

Think the OP has probably already been or otherwise, bearing in mind she asked this more than a year ago....

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