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Zero Hours Contract

Our Zero Hours Contract template:

  • Drafted by an expert UK solicitor for reliability
  • Use when taking on an ‘ad hoc’ worker
  • Includes full drafting notes for easy editing
  • A cost-effective alternative to using a solicitor
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How Does It Work?

  • 1. Download
  • 2. Edit
  • 3. Print
  • 4. Sign

Our zero hours contract template is simple to edit and complete. Use it as a cost-effective solution to putting in place a reliable and well-drafted contract with minimal cost and fuss.

With the download of the contract, you get a full set of guidance notes that take you, step-by-step, through completing the contract.

When to Use This Zero Hours Contract template

We are often asked when to use a zero hours employment contract: our Zero Hours Contract Template constitutes a formal contract for use by a business to set out the terms of engagement of casual workers who form part of their bank of available workers.

The contract covers the standard variable matters, such as the employee’s amount of pay, their holiday entitlement and termination of the engagement. All can be customised to suit your requirements within our template.

It is intended for use by an  employer who wants to be able to employ the worker on a genuinely ad hoc “as and when needed” basis. In such an arrangement, there is no guarantee of work from the business, but the worker is expected to be available to work when offered.

Rather than having to issue a new contract every time that work is offered and accepted, the contract is drafted so that its terms will apply to each assignment.

Employment status

This contract presumes that the worker will not be classed as an employee, but this can never be guaranteed – it depends on the actual working arrangements that the business operates in practice. If the worker is classed as a “worker” rather than an employee, there are then only limited employment rights to which he is entitled. However, businesses that use zero hours contracts are warned that if they get into a pattern of regularly offering work, which is generally accepted, they risk a challenge to the status of the worker.

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 & exclusivity

Businesses using these contracts are now banned from enforcing an exclusivity clause stating that the worker cannot work elsewhere. This template accordingly permits the worker to work elsewhere. This ban came into force on 26 May 2015.

Guide to our Zero Hours Contract

The main part of this template is based on our Employment Contract template (click here for the guide to that template), so below are just the clauses that are unique to the zero hours contract:

2. Job title, status and right to work – In clause 2.1 you should insert the worker’s job title and the name of the supervisor or line manager that they will report to, if relevant to your business. Clause 2.2 refers to this not being a relationship of employer and employee, as noted above. Clause 2.3 explains that, as this is a “zero hours” contract, there is no obligation on the company to provide work or any minimum number of hours a week. This lack of mutual obligations (a) to provide work and (b) to accept work is one big factor in demonstrating that this is not a relationship of employer and employee. If in reality there are habitual or regular working patterns, then this may cause the problem that the worker becomes an employee. Clauses 2.4 and 2.5 are in a similar vein. Clause 2.4 refers to each period of work as an “assignment”, and that there is no continuing relationship between assignments (as there is no obligation to offer or accept work for the parties).

Clause 2.6 includes a promise from the worker that he is entitled to work in the UK, but this does not change the fact that the onus is on the company to have checked the worker’s papers and established that he has a right to work here or there can be very harsh fines for engaging illegal workers. Technically these rules do not apply to “workers”, but immigration officers may not distinguish between employees and workers, so compliance as if they were employees is a better precaution.

7. Holidays – Full time workers have a minimum entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, just like employees do under employment law (under the Working Time Regulations 1998). Effectively workers accrue holiday hours at the rate of 12.07% of the hours worked (based on 5.6 weeks divided by 46.4 weeks – the latter is 52 weeks less 5.6 weeks). The way this clause is set up means that at the end of an assignment you will then pay the worker for the accrued holiday in addition to his pay (unless it was taken during the assignment) – see regulation 14 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 in this regard.

To complicate things further, where someone does not have normal working hours (which may be likely for a zero hours worker), their holiday pay per hour is calculated based on their average weekly remuneration in the twelve weeks prior to the date of their holiday (see section 224 of the Employment Rights Act 1996). If the worker does have normal working hours during a relevant assignment and their remuneration includes variable elements such as guaranteed overtime and commission, these will have to be reflected in holiday pay.

9. Sick pay – We have presumed that you do not wish to offer company sick pay at an amount in excess of the statutory minimum (SSP) entitlement. To go beyond just paying SSP may be to start to treat the worker as an employee.

14. Other work – This states that the worker can work elsewhere. It is unlawful to ban a worker from working elsewhere while on a zero hours contract.

Clauses not included in the zero hours contract but that are in the employment contract are ones dealing with probation periods; pensions; grievances; disciplinary matters; a ban on other employment; and collective agreements with trade unions.