Recent figures coming out of a Unite survey found that an estimated 5.5 million workers in the UK are signed up to employment contracts that promise them no more than three hours of work per week. These so called zero-hours contracts are argued by many to be unfair towards workers, with virtually no guaranteed work, often no holiday or sick pay, and in many cases no right to seek work elsewhere during down-time.
Pressure is growing in the UK to address this rising problem in employment contracts and make sure that zero-hours contracts, where workers rights are severely restricted, don’t become the norm. Arguably with possibly 5.5 million workers on these contracts, it already has become the norm.
It is a contract of employment (as defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996) setting out the terms and conditions of employment likely containing the following:
General employment rights can vary. Under UK law, there is a difference between a ‘worker’ and an ’employee’ (the worker having fewer legal rights than an employee). It can be uncertain whether an individual working on a zero-hours contract is technically an employee or a worker. Even in some cases where the zero-hours contract has stated that the individual is a ‘worker’, courts have ruled that an employment relationship exists based on the mutuality of obligation between employer and employee.
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