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Zero hour contract but having to put in a written request for time off wtf.......

(34 Posts)
Dickorydockwhatthe Sun 29-Nov-15 12:16:19

Honestly I hate my job but feeling stuck at the moment because if I left they would be screwed or at least my colleagues would.I work 30 hours per week and have done for 3 years despite recently asking for a day off once a week as struggling with fultime work. This was discussed never happened because work is so busy at the moment :-/At the end of each year we are all warned our hours may change/reduce until business picks up etc. But we have been constantly busy so it never happens. Recently we received a handbook saying we should try to reschedule hops/doc appointments etc around work. Also any time off for school plays/sports days will need to have a written request and only one employee from each seeking can attend if this shift can be covered. Any other time off for holidays etc will also need a letter in writing which will then go to the committee. I am absolutely :-0 by all of this I mean wtf. I work term time only but they have again asked us to come in on a Saturday to work a fun day and if you cannot attend you need to give your reasons why!!!! Although the money is handy I desperately have had enough however I don't want to upset my colleagues and leave on bad terms as I have worked my ass off there and want to come away with good references. I am really struggling to find out what my rights are which is so unfair.

nocabbageinmyeye Sun 29-Nov-15 12:24:58

Sorry I'm confused, your on a zero hours contract but work 30 hours a week and have done for three years? How is it zero hours contract then? Do you get no day off a week?

All the requests in writing is fairly standard, only granting time off for one at a time and appointments to be scheduled around work is pretty standard too. The fun day thing when you are off just give your reason as "I'm off"

talkinnpeace Sun 29-Nov-15 12:26:43

Contact these people
www.gov.uk/government/organisations/low-pay-commission
Send a copy of the Employer correspondence to them.
THey will check the legality for you.

PigletJohn Sun 29-Nov-15 12:30:05

If you are contracted to work zero hours, you are not obliged to work more than zero. So if they ask you to come in on Sunday or Wednesday you are at liberty to say no.

So once you have found a new job, you don't have to work any notice if you don't want to.

In the same way that if the employer decide they don't want you they are under no obligation to give you any days work.

From the employer's point of view, it is nice to be able to make your workers act as if they are committed. But commitment and loyalty work both ways.

If you feel like being kind to them in the expectation that it will bring you some benefit, carry on.

The employer chose to have contracts with no commitment.

MotiSen Sun 29-Nov-15 12:30:24

You'd be surprized. Many employers don't want to lose good employees. At the same time, they do try to squeeze as much profit out of them as can be had. And, they'll keep doing it until someone leaves or at least says something. Speak up. Talk to your colleagues, discreetly and professionally. You might ask, how to you interpret this? I did this once, and we all decided to quit - truthfully, it was a bluff for me as I couldn't afford to quit. It actually worked! Management retracted idiotic rules.

sadwidow28 Sun 29-Nov-15 12:34:35

I think you need to read the ACAS guidelines on zero hours contracts

It would appear to me that over the 3 years, your status has changed to employee.

Having said that, Zero hours workers are entitled to annual leave, the National Minimum Wage in the same way as regular workers. When employment is continuous, certain employment rights accumulate over time. For example, after their first year, workers don't need to accrue their annual leave before taking it.

This Zero Hours Myth Busting page is particularly helpful.

Helpline number: 0300 123 1100
Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm and Saturday 9am-1pm

marriednotdead Sun 29-Nov-15 12:46:22

Until very recently, my contract was for zero hours although I regularly worked close to full time.

There has to be a flexibility on both sides, otherwise they won't offer you hours, or they'll have trouble retaining staff.
You may need to approach it slightly differently if your employer is awkward in a 'I know my rights' kind of way.

An example was when we had a different arsey manager. They told me one year that I couldn't have a couple of days off before Christmas as too many people had already booked the time off. At this point it was November and our rotas went up weekly.
I simply said ' I'm not asking you for holiday, I'm telling you that I'm not available on those dates and I'm giving you 6 weeks notice'. I know they were furious but they didn't have a leg to stand on.

They can tell you that holiday needs to be booked at a convenient time but if you want to reduce your availability, that's your prerogative. It's one of the ONLY advantages you have on a zero, you can't even claim SSP which is why I've gone onto a regular contract.

Dickorydockwhatthe Sun 29-Nov-15 12:48:58

Ok if it has changed to employee status why do I not have it contracted that I am working 30hours. When I was first asked to increase my hours it was done gradually can you work these days until July and then we will see in September. Can you do this afternoon until December. It just continued and hasn't reduced since because of the need. However I do not get sick pay u less I am off for 5 days apparently.

Dickorydockwhatthe Sun 29-Nov-15 15:04:33

Thanks for the advice I will look into it further. Hopefully I will build up the courage to hand my notice in soon

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 15:12:18

This happened to me when I worked for a domiciliary care company. I sympathise.

RacoonsRock Sun 29-Nov-15 15:16:05

Your employers sound like a shower of shit and are sadly typical of many employers who offer zero hours' contracts; they want to have their cake and eat it!

I would seriously consider looking for another job in your position, OP.

Dickorydockwhatthe Sun 29-Nov-15 15:55:45

I dont get how we can all be on zero hour contracts and yet operate as a business as essentially they do need us. It just seems to swing their way.

PigletJohn Sun 29-Nov-15 17:13:30

It's because there are enough of competent, hard-working people desperate for jobs and willing to put up with being treated like dirt.

Added to which, the UK is not keen on worker protection laws, or unions. You can blame the Tories and the right-wing press for that, or the voters, if you prefer.

PigletJohn Sun 29-Nov-15 17:19:43

Over a hundred years ago, Winston Churchill, put the argument:

“It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty's subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions.... But where you have what we call sweated trades, you have no organisation, no parity of bargaining, the good employer is undercut by the bad, and the bad employer is undercut by the worst...."

Rowgtfc72 Sun 29-Nov-15 17:26:22

I work a zero hours contract in a factory and have done for over two years. This gives me flexibility over childcare as dhs shifts can change with little notice. We have recently had the no holidays to be taken under any circumstances in December text. I had booked the week before Christmas off the first week in November. They've had to honour as they were given fair notice.
It is however, at the end of the day, a zero hours contract. They can give me less than twelve hours notice of a shift cancellation. If I want a day off at short notice I will take it.

HelenaDove Sun 29-Nov-15 17:36:05

To quote an old Clint Eastwood film.....they want it every which way but loose.

The hypocrisy of employers like this is astounding.

Dickorydockwhatthe Sun 29-Nov-15 18:34:15

I'm lucky in the fact this is a second income and working is a choice. I really feel for those where it is their main job and income. The worse thing is that we work with children so are often at risk of illness and bugs and yet we are not paid any sick leave. Makes me so angry.

BonitaFangita Sun 29-Nov-15 19:08:51

I used to do the HR admin for a company that had zero hours / bank staff. Technically a zero hours contract is not a contract of employment, its an agreement between you and the company that you will work shifts for them. Working the hours you do, you will accrue sick leaves and holiday pay, but you're not obligated to request in writing unless you want to be paid for leave. You can take as much leave as you like as long as you are contactable and any training is up to date.
We also don't have to work any shifts you don't want to even if you work that shift regularly.
Some employers who have bank staff treat them well and for some employees zero hours contracts are ideal. But some employers do take advantage. don't forget you have rights too, and this contract means that you have no real commitment to their demands.

purplewhale Sun 29-Nov-15 19:41:45

SSP, SMP, SPP, SAP are all payable providing you meet the statutory requirements. For SSP this is that your average earnings are above the LEL for NI (currently £112). Your employer cannot refuse to pay you SSP when you're on a zero hours contract. There is no minimum earnings period.

For the others you need to have earned at least the LEL and have been employed before the start of the pregnancy.

Look on direct.gov for your rights

marriednotdead Sun 29-Nov-15 19:54:13

I believed that too purplewhale, but that's not the case- I went as far as ACAS with it as I had an operation just after I'd started and had to take 2 weeks off.
One of the qualifying points for SSP is that it kicks in on the 5th 'waiting' day- I.e. When you should have worked. As you do not have actual contracted work days (being on the rota doesn't count), there are no waiting days so you don't qualify. My employer provided me with a form stating why I couldn't have SSP which was supporting evidence for a claim for contribution based ESA instead. Got less than £70 after waiting 6 weeks...

Rowgtfc72 Sun 29-Nov-15 19:54:48

Bonita, that's interesting about paid leave. I've been told I have to request unpaid holidays in writing. I've tried to point out as the texts they send ask if I'm available for work on a day to day basis I am within my rights to just say, sorry I am unavailable. I'm not sure how much of our communications are lost in translation as I work for a polish recruitment agency and some of their texts make more sense than others!

marriednotdead Sun 29-Nov-15 19:56:09

Many companies choose to pay SSP to zero hour staff, but as yet, they're not obligated to. That to me is the biggest change that needs to be implemented for those people who it suits to stay on these contracts.

wasonthelist Sun 29-Nov-15 20:14:58

One of the qualifying points for SSP is that it kicks in on the 5th 'waiting' day- I.e. When you should have worked

This is not correct, and if ACAS told you that, they are wrong. What reason did your employer put on the SSP1?

purplewhale Sun 29-Nov-15 20:23:29

SSP operates using a 7 day working pattern if there are no contracted days. It should be in your contract of employment what the qualifying days are. You have to be ill for 4 consecutive days, and the first 3 days are waiting days but after that it's payable

wasonthelist Sun 29-Nov-15 20:33:08

As purplewhale says, it's 4 consecutive days of illness, not 4 days when you would have been due to work. It's irrelevant when you would have worked in terms of forming a period of incapacity for work. It's also not as simple as saying zero hours contract=no SSP, there are other factors, but some people on zero hours are definitely entitled to SSP.

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