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    11 December 2020

    Zero-hour contracts and employee rights: Q&A

    During the pandemic, many employees have had questions about their Employment rights in relation to zero-hour contacts.

    Steeles Law Employment team reviews frequently asked questions surrounding financial support employees with zero-hour contracts are entitled to, including sick pay and annual leave.

    Q1. What would be considered a zero-hour contract?

    A zero-hour contract is usually considered to be a contract of casual employment which guarantees zero hours of work to the employee.  In return, there is no obligation on the employee to accept work when it is offered to them.

    Zero-hours workers are entitled to statutory annual leave and the National Minimum Wage in the same way as regular workers.

    Q2. Are employees on zero-hour contracts entitled to sick pay?

    Casual workers will be entitled to SSP so long as they: 1) have a period of 4 or more days off; 2) they earn more than £118 per week (before tax as of March 2020) from one employer and; 3) as long as their earnings are liable for Class 1 National Insurance contributions.

    Q3. What annual leave are employees on zero-hour contracts entitled to?

    Casual workers are covered by the Working Time Regulations, meaning they are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid leave per year. Due to the fact that casual workers tend to have irregular patterns of work, their holiday entitlement is calculated at 12.07% of the hours worked. The amount of holiday pay they receive, will also be taken from the average weekly pay over the previous 12 weeks.

    Q4. Are employees on zero-hour contracts allowed to work for another employer?

    Yes, employees on zero-hour contracts can work for as many different employers as they choose.

    Q5. What financial support is available for employees on zero-hour contracts during the pandemic?

    Casual workers are entitled to be furloughed in the same way that other employees are. This means they can receive 80% of their wages (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month).

    If you have further questions regarding any of the points raised by our employees zero-hours contracts Q&A, or you would like to discuss your HR requirements with a member of the Employment Business Team please do not hesitate to call 01603 598000 or email employment@steeleslaw.co.uk.

    The Steeles Law Employment team has been sharing practical tips, legal updates and industry insights related to the Employment sector. See the news page links below for more information:

    Employee settlement agreements: Where to start?

    Job Retention Scheme to be extended until March

    Employment: Coronavirus Law update. What employers need to know

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.


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