Zero Hours / Casual Workers

The term ‘zero hours contract’ is not legally defined. It is often used interchangeably with terms such as ‘bank staff’ and ‘casual workers’. In each of these scenarios, the individual is not contracted to work a set number of hours and is paid only for the hours they actually work.

Zero hours staff may be either workers or employees depending on the circumstances. An employment relationship requires mutuality of obligation – the employer takes on specific legal obligations towards the employee and in return, an employee will usually be expected to ‘come when they are called’.

Zero hours contracts used to sometimes contain exclusivity clauses. These prevented the individual from working for anyone else, even when the employer had not offered them any work. Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are now unlawful.

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