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Zero hours contract

(6 Posts)
milliemoomay Mon 15-Dec-14 23:36:42

I started with a new company in September on a zero hours (they call it - as and when) who use a pool of specialist staff to carry out the work. They were keen to employ me and seemed wonderfully amenable to my main challenge, which was my commute. I live in East Sussex and as much of the work is in S.E. London (at various locations), I believed that it would only be doable if I was guaranteed a minimum number of hours. They agreed to do so (in writing)- it's not a great deal either - they would pay me for 7 hours a day, when they require my services. The 7 hours includes travel time too! I generally work for them 2 days a week, as I have a fixed contract with another organisation on 2 other days (which they knew about when they hired me).

Last week, the head boss - not my manager, who is a kindly and understanding man - but my manager's manager, inexplicably sent me a schedule for the week. I was asked to work 2.5 hours on one of the days that I work for the other organisation. I wrote back and said that I wasn't able to explaining why. I was courteous but matter of fact.

I've now received an email from my manager saying that they will no longer be guaranteeing me the 7 hours - and that I may only get 4 hours a day. I spoke to him as soon as I received the email, and he admitted that the boss had taken umbrage that I was unable to work those 2.5 hours she'd wanted. She immediately instructed him to tell me that my hours were being cut.

Sorry this is long - it's just really upsetting as I've worked really hard and never missed a day. My question is - can they do this? They guaranteed me the work in writing but have now reneged without offering any reason. Thanks for any advice.

Spidergirl8 Wed 17-Dec-14 20:43:31

A zero hours contract is different to a contract where you are are given set hours. They can change your hours to anything they wish on a zero hours contract.

However if you received something in writing that changed your contract and was officially recognised as a contractual change then they can't change this without notice. However if you just received a written statement then it is unlikely that this is contractual. They can also change contracts, with appropriate notice.

Zero hours contracts are abused and used to exploit many employees. I say this with direct experience as my DH has had work cancelled with no notice, despite doing prep work etc. I hope legislation changes in the near future so that companies no longer mess employees about with zero hours contracts.

Millerpup Wed 17-Dec-14 21:26:59

They can do whatever they like hence the "zero hours" part in your contract.
These contracts mean that you can end up with some weeks with no work at all yet you are expected to be on call at the last minute for when they need you.
The government have a lot to answer for when allowing these types of contracts to be legal get another job with contracted part time hours.

Xmas2014Santa2014 Wed 17-Dec-14 21:41:50

Yep sadly zero hours contract mean just that

Where I work the irregular staff get nothing for weeks on end and then are suddenly full time in very busy periods

milliemoomay Thu 18-Dec-14 00:19:35

Thanks for the clarification.

I guess I feared the worst but didn't quite want to believe it. Bit of a bummer really... its so anxiety-provoking too. I've got to find something more secure in the new year. sad

prh47bridge Thu 18-Dec-14 00:49:06

The government have a lot to answer for when allowing these types of contracts to be legal

This type of contract isn't appropriate for everyone but it suits some employees and some employers. Some people want something where there is no commitment to accept offers of work and no consequences if they don't. Equally some employers need the flexibility to call on additional staff at short notice to cover unexpected events. I don't think the government should outlaw them. However, I agree with the government's moves to improve transparency and prevent exclusive contracts, i.e. contracts that stop you working for someone else even if this employer doesn't give you any work.

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