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Questions about employment

(10 Posts)
Questionaboutwork Mon 29-Aug-16 17:00:32

We do not have contracts.
Some of us signed a piece of paper that actually says 'you are not employed by x and we encourage you to find other work' but some of us can't remember if we have signed or not (we don't have copies if we do)
We get paid holidays.
Shifts are Rota'd two to four weeks in advance but you are free to take time off whenever or swap shifts if needed.
Some people have regular shifts, that is, they are the same each week. Some change all the time. There are no 'set' hours except those who work the regular shifts.

So our question is, does the regular hours group (there is a set shut down period too) fall in to part time employment due to length of service as regular pattern of work? Does this mean we are ALL on zero hours contracts? If people can't work a shift that is hard to cover can they be dismissed due to this? (Or actually just cut from the shift rota I.e. Managed out and not offered any work?) can, if they wanted to, the employer start saying no to holidays? (No paperwork involved, just written in a calendar as not available)

Questionaboutwork Mon 29-Aug-16 19:46:22

Anyone? smile

HermioneWeasley Mon 29-Aug-16 19:51:34

You may will be employees, but it's a complex area and one you would probably have to test through the tribunal system if one of you were dismissed

Questionaboutwork Mon 29-Aug-16 19:54:43

We are employees, they pay NI and are in the pension scheme if at the threshold. They say we are on zero hour contracts. But we don't have contracts confused

Questionaboutwork Mon 29-Aug-16 20:19:55

As in they say we are employees when talking to them and mention zero hour contracts.

Questionaboutwork Mon 29-Aug-16 21:46:57

Bump smile

flowery Tue 30-Aug-16 06:14:28

This sounds a bit of a mess. Presumably you have asked for contracts and have been refused- what reason did your employer give?

Whether any of you have employment status rather than casual worker status will depend on a variety of factors and it sounds like the answer may not necessarily be the same for all of you.

Regardless of whether your employer labels you as being zero hours, if you've worked the same hours consistently for a significant period of time, are expected to be able to work those hours each week, it is likely that these hours would be considered contractual.

On the question of employment status, zero hours isn't an employment status in itself - a worker with zero guaranteed hours a week could either be an employee or a casual worker, and which it is will depend on a number of other factors. I have a client with a few employees on this basis- due to the nature of the work they cannot absolutely guarantee work each week, but in practice the weeks of no work at all are pretty rare, and the rest of the time they fluctuate between 5 hours and full time. But they are part of the workforce, are expected to work the hours available, are there most of the time and are employed. It's just their contact of employment says there are 0 guaranteed hours.

I have other clients with zero hours staff who are casual workers. They might have weeks with no work at all, and genuinely have the option of declining the offer of work.

Whether you are a worker or an employee you are entitled to paid holiday (although your employer could dictate when this is taken), and how easy it would be to dismiss any of you would depend on the employment status of the individual in question, how long they'd been there, what the reason for dismissal was, and whether there would be an argument that their hours were regular enough to be contractual.

Questionaboutwork Tue 30-Aug-16 15:24:34

Thank you.

When asked they said no as they would then have to pay us for the shutdown weeks and occaisiobal other times when there is no work, so according to them we are casual.

When you say consistent for s significant period, what time frame would this be? More than two years, say? And would the weeks of no work (predicted six months in advance die to nature of work, so no work as no clients) or shutdown affect that?

flowery Wed 31-Aug-16 09:37:57

They are wrong there. Not issuing you with contracts doesn't change your employment status. Your employment status is defined by what actually happens; by the actual nature of the relationship between the two parties.

Whether it's written down or not has little bearing. Failure to give you a contract doesn't mean you are not employed. They are also wrong that being employed would mean they automatically have to pay you for shutdown times. It would be perfectly possible to employ people on terms that allowed unpaid shutdown.

Consistently working the same hours for two years would probably constitute contractual terms and conditions yes. Shutdown/periods of no work available reduces the likelihood of it being employment, but certainly not completely.

If someone worked, for example, in the education sector and their place of employment shuts down every summer, but they'd worked there every year for 5 years, it would be very likely that a tribunal would find that they had continuous employment even though their employer had perhaps issued separate contracts for each academic year.

But each case is individual when it comes to determining employment status so I wouldn't like to state for sure what your status/that of your colleagues is.

Questionaboutwork Wed 31-Aug-16 09:48:29

Thank you so much for your responses! Very helpful smile

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