Zero hours = zero rights?

Zero hours zero rights

One of my friends got a new job the other day.

She’s been unemployed since being made redundant last summer and jumped at the chance to do some casual work that used her admin skills.

As you’d expect, I had my HR hat on, asking about her contract, sick pay and holiday and all that jazz.

Her response?

“Oh no, I don’t get any of that stuff because I’m a zero-hours worker”.

I pointed out that however wonderful her new employer was, they were also operating illegally and not paying her what she was owed.

I offered to read the contract to check what else they had got wrong.

The employer had correctly worded the contract to make it a “zero-hours” one: they did not have to offer work, and the worker did not have to accept it.

But pretty much everything else was rubbish:

  • NO Statutory Sick Pay – all workers are entitled to this if they earn the right amount each week to qualify (currently £120/week).
  • NO notice period – if you want to issue the person with a P45, you still need to give them notice of this, even if you do not have to give them actual work for that notice period.
  • NO date when salaries will be paid into bank accounts – this is a legal requirement to state a specific day, not just “end of the month”.
  • GDPR – asking for consent to process data, which cannot legally be given by an employee, they can only understand, not agree.
  • Non-solicitation clause for 12 months after termination of employment – totally unenforceable. Anything over 3 months needs to be justified, and given that she’s an entry-level zero-hours worker, anything longer than 1 month would be seen as silly by the Courts.

And worst of all

  • NO holiday pay – since May 2022, zero-hours workers are entitled to the full 28 days holiday every year, not pro rata hours worked, and accrue this from day one of working.

And then of course, there are all the other clauses that they didn’t put in at all.

She doesn’t want to rock the boat and fears being fired if she points out these mistakes.

Our plan is that when her contract comes to an end, she then asks for what she is entitled to, and if they refuse, we start an Early Conciliation claim.

She will get the money because it is a non-contestable case:

Did you pay holiday pay? No? Then it has to be paid. No discussion. Staff cannot sign away their rights, and there are NO workers who are not entitled to it.

Cue the classic whine from bad employers as a defence:

“If we pay them what they are legally owed, then our business model doesn’t work! We won’t have enough profit to pay ourselves dividends.”

My heart bleeds.

If you have zero-hours workers and think that they don’t get any of these statutory entitlements, then you need to sort yourselves out before you get an Early Conciliation claim from ACAS.

Which you will have to pay.

zero hours zero rights

Have a Question? Get in touch below...

    If you are an employee and feel that you have been treated badly, then we strongly advise you to contact ACAS:

    Call the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free support and advice.

    Simply get in touch and they'll provide you with clear and confidential guidance about any kind of dispute or query that you have about relationship issues within the workplace.

    You may want to know about employment rights and rules, best practice or you may need advice about a dispute.

    Whatever it is, just give ACAS a call, their team are on hand to respond within the hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 9am-1pm.

    Who We Work With