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Guidance for Zero-Hour Contracts

A solicitor in our employment department, Jemma Jones, explains that there's been a sharp increase in recent years in so-called 'zero-hour' contracts, as employers try to find cost-effective ways of meeting short-term staffing needs.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has produced a guide for employers on zero-hour contracts.

It explains to employers how zero-hour contracts work, the difference between appropriate and inappropriate use of such arrangements, and gives guidance on best practice and alternatives to zero-hour contracts. This can be viewed at under publications.

A zero-hour contract is where the employer is not required to guarantee any hours and if the employer offers work, the employee/worker is not obligated to accept. Zero-hours contracts effectively provide employers with a pool of people who are 'on-call' and can be used when the need arises. Such arrangements are commonly used in the retail and hospitality industries where the need for labour can fluctuate considerably

It is important that employers offering zero-hour contracts know that the employee/worker is entitled to certain basic employment rights, for example, the right to the national minimum wage.

As a result of inappropriate use of zero-hour contracts, employers were recently banned from stopping staff with zero-hour contracts seeking extra work elsewhere.

If you are a business and you think that a zero-hour contract may be right for you and you are looking for advice or for someone to draft the contract for you, please contact Jemma Jones on 01743 248148 or, who would be happy to help.

Jemma is based in Shrewsbury but she travels to all of our offices for appointments.


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