Zero hours contract or defined hours

(11 Posts)
SpottydogDomino Thu 28-Sep-17 08:54:32

I have changed employer recently. I am a community care worker.
I did not want yet another zero hours contract. I was offered instead a "20 hours defined hours contract".

I was just wondering what the difference is? What is a "defined hours" contract.

I wanted approx 20 hours per week so that bit is ok.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Thu 28-Sep-17 13:41:37

20 hours defined hours is what it says - they are offering you a job which will be 20 hours, so even if you don't actually have enough work to fill 20 hours they'll still pay you 20 hours.

It's an improvement on Zero hours where they aren't obliged to pay you if there isn't enough work, and they're within their rights to say we don't need you today, don't turn up until xxxday.

SpottydogDomino Thu 28-Sep-17 14:59:43

Ah, thank you. I understand now. I think I will always have more than 20 hour work anyway but if for some reason the work drops off I will still be paid for 20 hours even if I do less.

Do I still accrue holiday pay on a defined hours contract?

Also, the zero hours contract pay rates vary (i.e. £9 ph mon-fri and £10 ph at weekends). I am guessing my defined hours would be at the £9 ph.

When I said I would not accept a zero hours contract (and the company seemed to be desperate to employ me!) I was offered the defined hours but never really understood what it was - only that it was better than zero hours - but did not ask in what way!

Sorry if I sound stupid but I am good at caring but not so good at the officey bits!

OP’s posts: |
KindleBueno Thu 28-Sep-17 17:43:32

Personally, I would take the 0 hours as a care job. It's rare to have no work if you want it. With defined areas you'll be likely to get saddled with all the shifts the 0 hours staff don't want - e.g evenings, weekends. Christmas and the rural runs no-one wants to drive.

KindleBueno Thu 28-Sep-17 17:48:03


SpottydogDomino Thu 28-Sep-17 17:51:54

I cannot do any calls where I have not been introduced to the customers. If a customer is miles away I would decline before I was introduced. So far all my customers are local (ish). I like the evening runs anyway so no probs there. We have every other weekend off.hav

Under the circs have I made the best choice for me?

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Fri 29-Sep-17 05:44:37

Spotty I would encourage you to discuss your T&Cs of employment with your employers. You shouldn't have to guess about things like accrued holidays, your hours, what they will be paying you etc.

You should be provided a contract with all the information so you don't sign up to something you later don't agree with, or that they can chop and change without you having been aware.

Re whether it's right for you, that depends on your personal circumstances. If you need the certainty of knowing you will get 20 hours a week, the fixed contract gives you that.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Sep-17 08:09:50

I have just been interviewed for the role of care coordinator, if offered the job I'm going to be turning it down because they only offer zero hrs or self-employment to the care staff. For two reasons. One, I think people deserve fair treatment and security of employment. Second, if staff are on fixed hr contracts I can expect greater flexibility from them.

If I was you, not only would I request fixed hrs with the option of over time, but that the hrs were not going to be averaged over the year. So, if they fail to offer 20 hrs a week, but offer 30 the next, you'll only be paid for 40 not 50! Check this isn't the case. Plus where you have eve and weekend work check what percentage of your hrs is made up of these unsocial hrs, and check that if it every other weekend that this is written in your contract.

SpottydogDomino Fri 29-Sep-17 20:32:43

Thanks all. It is a minefield. The HR lady did go through at the speed of light the contract which I then signed at the end of training.
When I checked my copy later I could not see any reference to the 20 per week defined hours bit. I was not sure whether it was a zero hours contract or defined hours or really what to look for in the contract.

I have sent the HR lady an email asking for clarification over whether the contract given to me was zero hours or defined hours and I think I understand the difference a bit better now for when she comes back to me so I know what I have been offered!

OP’s posts: |
chipscheeseandcurrysauce Fri 29-Sep-17 20:38:27

That’s why I’m umming and ahhing between community and residential care... residential is fixed hours and is NMW and community is zero hour for the first 12 weeks then a fixed hours, but it’s more money!

insancerre Sat 30-Sep-17 08:43:07

Your contract should state the number of hours you are contracted to work and also your entitlement to holiday pay and your pay rate
I work in a nursery and my contract states I am contracted to work 40 hours a week Monday to Friday between 7.30 and 6 on a rota system
Other staff have part time contracts that just state 20 hours so the company has some flexibility to use those 20 hours where there is a need, so they might not have a set working pattern but they are guaranteed 20 hours
Others might have a contract that states 3 hours a day e.g. 11-2 so any changes have to be agreed by both sides
I'm glad that nobody is on zero hours contracts as I don't think it's good for morale or consistency for the children

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