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How Do I Confront My Boss? Zero Hours Contract (P/T), No Holiday Pay & Boss Expects Me To Work Regular Days/Hours

(23 Posts)
ShoddyBoss Thu 14-Aug-14 15:24:24

Can somebody please help me before I go off the deep end at my boss?

I work in a local business. I've been there since September last year. I have no written contract. The first I knew of being on a zero hours contract was when I requested some proof of income for the WTC department and the boss (company owner) handed me a letter for them stating, "Shoddy is on a zero hours contract... ".

My job is consistently carried out on two regular days a week - from 10am until 5.30pm on Tuesdays and from 9am until 5.30pm on Wednesdays (16 hours in total).

I now know that this is not the definition of "zero hours" but until now it's not been an issue.

I am given payslips. I don't pay tax yet as I have yet to earn enough.

I'm NI contribution exempt (I have a small HMRC registered additional income from part time self employed work). My £0 NI contributions and the £0 tax are noted on the payslips provided by my employer.

I recently asked the boss about my holiday entitlement and was told abruptly, "You're on a zero hours contract. You don't get any!". Then he walked off. Nice! hmm

I said in that case I'd take the days off unpaid. This was agreed to. I return to work this forthcoming Tuesday.

I've been doing some reading up over the break and as far as I can make out I am entitled to paid holiday, pro-rata to the full time rate.

Is that correct please?

If it is, how do I approach the boss? In writing? In person? Invariably we're both busy and dealing with customers. He's not approachable, he is temperamental and I'm not tolerant of rudeness. This isn't going to end well.

Then there's the question of sick pay. Am I entitled to that?

Finally, there's the issue of the so-called "zero hours contract". As I understand it he doesn't have to offer me work but I don't have to accept any that's offered either. So going by the letter of the law could I say, for example, "Can I have next Wednesday off please? No, I can't? Oh well, I have no contract to work for you on that or any other specific day and I'm entitled to turn the work down so I'm taking next Wednesday off anyway!"?

I don't plan on doing this but I'm interested to know the answer, if only as some form of comfort for the injustice of the rest of it!

Thanks for reading this essay!

BlueBrightBlue Thu 14-Aug-14 16:04:24

Call ACAS, this sounds very dodgy to me. Telephone 0300 1211100.
Good luck.

Finney2 Thu 14-Aug-14 18:51:41

You do have the right to holidays, you just have to accrue them. So, for example, if a full-time worker gets 30 days holiday per year (inc bank holidays) and you work 2 days per week the you'll accrue 12 days in a year. You can take this as you accrue it, you don't need to wait a year to take any holiday. So, you could take a day after one month at work etc.

After a year in service you no longer have to accrue your holiday.

You also have the right to turn down work.

This is a good link to some more info. m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4468

landwhale Thu 14-Aug-14 19:17:35

Watching with interest as dh is in same position. hmm

ShoddyBoss Thu 14-Aug-14 19:17:47

Thank you ever so much.

Oh, this conversation is not going to be fun. The boss doesn't like being disagreed with and can be terribly terse to the point of ignorance.

I can see me using that good old standby "Did you really mean to be so rude?" and a Paddington stare before Tuesday lunchtime.

Maybe I should exercise my right to decline work and take Wednesday off to avoid the fallout!

I've downloaded some information on holiday entitlement from ACAS' website and from the website of a large practice of solicitors. I don't know whether to speak to the boss and then give him the printouts, to put them all in an envelope with a covering note on the grounds that he's a rude, hard to approach bugger very busy, so he can read it at leisure or whether to just tell him that he's mistaken and suggest he contacts ACAS himself.

* coward emoticon *

I suppose too, that as so far I've only taken three days of the leave to which I'm entitled (albeit unpaid atm!) and because I started working for the company 3/4 of the way into September last year, I need to take the remaining amount of leave owed to me before the end of this September or I'll lose them.

Oh. That's going to go down like a lead balloon too.

Pico2 Thu 14-Aug-14 19:22:49

You are entitled to holiday - as you have discovered. I would guess that the right to carry over holiday is at the employer's discretion. Your boss might find it better to allow you to carry some over to next year, rather than you fitting it all in over the next month. But I'd get this in writing from him.

ShoddyBoss Thu 14-Aug-14 20:07:38

Thank you.

In that case I think it might be best if I put this in writing and ask whether, as I've accrued some paid leave, he would prefer that I take it all before mid September or would he rather I carried it over to the next 12 month period.

If I write the letter tomorrow evening and drop it in to him over the weekend he can have a strop in my absence ponder it before I go back in next week.

I don't mind confrontation, I really don't. I just tend to deal with rudeness and hostility with the suggestion that they put it where the sun doesn't shine. That's probably not the best way to talk to someone who owes me holiday pay. grin

BlueBrightBlue Thu 14-Aug-14 20:24:44

When I was pregnant I went armed with printed information about my rights ( job was very manual and heavy) Boss was great and I was fully supported in the changes I had to make to accommodate the fact I was pregnant.
ACAS are very helpful and very informed.

ShoddyBoss Thu 14-Aug-14 20:28:42

I'll arm myself with the ACAS information then and speak with them in the morning too. Thank you again. smile

BlueBrightBlue Thu 14-Aug-14 20:49:43

Good luck OP, and in the meantime look for something better chic.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 14-Aug-14 20:59:17

Even the student who works for me for 3 hours per week on Saturday mornings accrues holiday.

Don't know why employers think they can get away with this.

unlucky83 Thu 14-Aug-14 21:23:20

You are entitled to holiday pay pro rata - you could take it as pay rather than days off.
The company holiday pay doesn't necessarily run Sept to Sept...in fact it would be odd if it did - more likely Dec-Dec or Apr -Apr and in that case you may have 'lost' some of your holiday - pretty sure statutory holiday can't be carried over (ACAS can help) sad
But it is the kind of thing (holiday year) that should be in your 'written statement of employment' (contract) which you should have been given within 3 months....
As to the 'zero hours' contract bit - in fact there is something (can't remember what it is called - on the tip of my tongue -established practice or something) where if you have always worked the same hours they can be considered your working hours...hope that makes sens.
You don't have full employment rights until you have worked for two years - so you can't claim unfair dismissal if your boss turns nasty - except I'm pretty sure in your case you can - because he isn't fulfilling his statutory rights (holiday pay)
Sick pay - depends on your contract - there is no obligation except for statutory sick pay - which I suspect you don't earn enough to qualify for
I think I'd speak to ACAS helpline before your boss so you know your rights...

ShoddyBoss Fri 15-Aug-14 16:48:17

Thank you all once again. smile

BlueBrightBlue, I'm certainly looking for something better. This is not the only reason why. There's the lack of any break for lunch or even 5 minutes for a cold drink and a breather, the filthy conditions, the rodent problem...

To explain - I don't have a written contract. I never have had one but I'll make sure that this will change as soon as I get into work next week! God knows what will be put in it after I've pulled the boss on this though!

I spoke to ACAS this morning. They too say I'm entitled to paid holiday in proportion to the number of hours I work.

This morning I went into the workplace and managed to catch the boss for 2 minutes. I told him that it's my belief that I'm entitled to holiday pay pro-rata and that ACAS have confirmed this. His reply is that the other staff (2, also part time), are employed on the same basis as me and that giving paid holiday is not his understanding of how a zero hours contract works. In fact, he repeated that twice!

I've left him with an apologetic smile and a printout stating otherwise from ACAS's website plus one from a well respected firm of solicitors which does the same and which also goes into detail about how a contract isn't zero hours if the person doing the work carries out their tasks on regular, pre-agreed days of the week and for a regular, pre-agreed number of hours each week.

He didn't look too happy and told me that he'd have a look over the print outs but repeated that he is of the understanding that he is correct.

I return to work on Tuesday morning. That should be fun. hmm

WRT carrying over holiday, ACAS tell me it's not a right but is granted only at the employer's discretion.

I'm inclined, when and if the boss concedes that I am entitled to to holiday pay and if it turns out that I'm owed some over and above the 3 days I've just taken and been denied pay for *, to stand my ground and demand that it's either carried over to the next 12 month period or that I'm paid in lieu of it, on the grounds that this is his screw up and not mine! AIBU to do that (politely of course)?

( * How much paid leave I'm entitled to is too complicated for my brain to work out because I started out on 8 Sept 2013 just working 7 hours a week, then went up to 15 hours a week from mid-February 2014, rising to the current 16 hours a week from mid-May 2014. Any math experts out there?! grin ).

Finally, (for now!), just looking ahead - if the boss remains insistent that I'm not entitled to paid holiday, what then? I have been there just under a year, I can't therefore claim constructive dismissal. confused

Thank you all for your patience and invaluable advice and support.

Pico2 Fri 15-Aug-14 17:35:11

You could probably take him to small claims for unpaid leave.

ShoddyBoss Fri 15-Aug-14 17:48:11

I was wondering about that, Pico. I hope it doesn't come to it but it's handy to know.

One of the big reasons for hoping it doesn't come to that is that while we don't absolutely need to use this business we do need to use a business of its type and there's no other accessible on a day to day basis (no, it's not the village pub! grin ).

It would massively inconvenience me and my family if I was to leave on bad terms and not feel that I could use the company.

unlucky83 Fri 15-Aug-14 17:58:13

As I understand it although you haven't worked there for 2 yrs because he is not fulfilling his statutory obligations re Holiday pay and a Written statement you can still claim for unfair dismissal etc - but ACAS are the best people to speak about that...from ACAS
Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. In most circumstances employees will need to qualify before they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal: at least one year's continuous service for employees in employment before 6th April 2012 two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012.
However, there is no length of service requirement in relation to 'automatically unfair grounds'.

www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1797

Unfair dismissal - see the last reason here
Dismissals are classed as 'automatically unfair', regardless of the reasonableness, if an employee is exercising specific rights to do with:

pay and working hours: including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage.

www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4098

If you know how many hours you have worked I can work out how much you are owed - and IIRC there are calculators on ACAS website or gov.uk -but before you bother doing that I would see when the company holiday year runs and if you can get him to carry it over...

ShoddyBoss Fri 15-Aug-14 18:02:19

Unlucky, I owe you. Thank you very much indeed.

I'll let you know what he says as soon as I get a response.

Pico2 Fri 15-Aug-14 19:56:31

I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a "company holiday year" given the other lack of documentation and statutory rights.

Bustarhymes Fri 15-Aug-14 20:05:44

Your boss is awful, but you knew that. Don't be scared to get what you deserve. He can always call Acas on their employer line if he doesn't believe you.

NapoleonsNose Fri 15-Aug-14 20:16:10

I cannot believe that some employers still think they are immune from the law in this day and age. I've taken a small business to a tribunal before over them denying me my statutory rights and discriminating against me. It wasn't pleasant as I had no legal representation or union help. Luckily I'd left their shoddy employment by then though and we did agree to settle out of court. I'm now a union rep and stories like this make me see a flaming shade of red. Good luck on Tuesday OP and do come back and tell us how you get on. YY to ACAS being fab too - although they are impartial they gabe me all the relevant info for me to proceed with my case and carried out all the mediation between me and bastard ex-employer.

unlucky83 Fri 15-Aug-14 21:48:26

Pico I agree and the danger is he decides that the company holiday year runs from 16th Aug to 15th Aug ...and so OP has 'lost' most of her statutory allowance sad (Hopefully he doesn't read MN and isn't that clued up)

skyeskyeskye Fri 15-Aug-14 22:15:07

I deal with payroll and casual employees holiday is calculated by adding together the previous twelve weeks hours and averaging them to get their hours for holiday pay. If you do the same hours every week then you should get paid for those hours if off.

You should have had at least a written statement of employment within two months of starting the job.

If you work more than six hours a day you must have a 20 minute break but he doesn't have to pay you for that

OwnerOfAnInsanePuppy Fri 15-Aug-14 22:19:49

This is an interesting thread and has answered a few questions I had about some contracts at work, thank you.

I have a few more, am I able to hijack as they are quite similar or should I start a new thread?

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