What is a Zero Hours Contract?
A Zero Hours Contract is an agreement between a business and a staff member where the business does not guarantee any set hours for future work. Zero Hour Contracts set out such things as the type of work that will be offered, terms relating to pay and benefits, and agreed hours and holidays.
This document is GDPR compliant.
When should I use a Zero Hours Contract?
Use this Zero Hours Contract:
to hire a worker on a casual or temporary basis to cover emergencies or unknown or changing demand
when you want the flexibility of workers who will not be promised set hours of work or any future work, but who are available when required
for a worker who has other commitments (eg childcare or studying)
for workers based in England, Wales or Scotland
- of , (the Worker or you).
(the 'Business') requires casual workers because varying business demand means that the Business cannot always predict how many people it will need to carry out work for it at all times. This letter records the terms on which the Business agrees to enter into a casual work relationship with you.
Status of This Agreement
- This contract contains all of the agreed terms between you and the Business relating to your casual work from time to time for the Business. This is not an employment contract and does not give you any employment rights (other than rights which workers are entitled to). This agreement does not create any obligation on the Business to provide work for you. By signing this contract you confirm your understanding that the Business makes no promise of a minimum amount of work nor working hours and you will work on a flexible basis, as and when required. It is the intention of both you and the Business that there be no mutuality of obligation between you and the Business at any time when you are not performing work for the Business.
How Work Will Be Offered and Carried Out
- It is entirely at the Business' discretion whether to offer you or any other person work or not. The Business is not required to provide you with work at any time and the Business does not have to give reasons for its decisions.
- Each piece of work offered to you is entirely separate and you and the Business have no relationship in between the different pieces of work (an 'Assignment'). Just because work has been offered to you once or more than once, this does not give you any legal rights or entitle you to regular work or give you continuity of employment.
- All work you carry out for the Business will be governed by the terms of this letter, unless the Business tells you otherwise, in writing.
- If the Business wants to offer you any work it will contact you with an offer by email or telephone. You are under no obligation to accept any work offered by the Business at any time.
- You may enquire about work by emailing us or contacting us via telephone.
- If you accept an Assignment, the Business will expect you to complete the Assignment.
- If you accept an Assignment, you must tell the Business immediately if you are unable to complete it for any reason. In the event that an Assignment is not completed, you will be paid on an hourly basis for the work completed.
- If the Business needs to cancel an Assignment, it will notify you as soon as reasonably practicable.
- The Business reserves the right to terminate work you are carrying out at any time for operational reasons.
- You will be paid for all work done up to the time that piece of work is terminated. If the Business has not contacted you before you attend the place of work, and work you have agreed to carry out is cancelled, you will be compensated for reasonable travel expenses already incurred.
Type of Work
- The Business may offer you work from time to time as . If you accept any offer of work, the Business anticipates that your duties will include . The type of work may change with each piece of work and you may be required to carry out other duties as necessary to meet business needs. You will be told what is involved at the start of each piece of work.
- Before offering you any work the Business will need to inspect certain original documents to satisfy itself that you are legally entitled to work in the UK. This will be explained to you in more detail by us. You confirm that you are legally entitled to work in the UK without any additional immigration approvals and agree to advise the Business immediately in writing if you are no longer entitled at any time and for any reason.
- You will only be paid for the hours that you attend work, as agreed in advance, and set out in clause 2. The Business' current rate of pay for casual workers is £ an hour (gross). You will be paid monthly in arrears on or about the of each month directly into your bank account for the hours worked in the previous month. The Business will make all necessary deductions from your wages as required by law, including pension contributions which may be required to be deducted under the auto-enrolment regime, and is entitled to deduct from your wages, or other payments due to you, any money which you may owe to the Business at any time.
Place of Work, Hours and Holiday
- Your hours of work will vary depending on the requirements of the Business. You will be told the required hours before you start each piece of work.
- You will be entitled to an unpaid lunch break of one hour where you are required to work more than six hours in any one day.
- Your holiday entitlement will depend on the number of hours that you actually work and be pro-rated on the basis of a full-time entitlement of 28 days' holiday during each full holiday year (including the usual eight public holidays in England and Wales). The Business' holiday year runs between and .
- If you have taken more holiday than your accrued entitlement at the date that a piece of work ends, the Business may deduct from any payment due to you one day's pay (on the basis that a day's pay equals the average number of hours you work per day times your current hourly rate) for each excess day.
Working Time Opt-Out
- If you are working more than 48 hours per week, please complete the Business' Working Time Opt Out Letter Agreement to confirm that you wish to opt out of the 48-hour limit on a week's work. If you do not opt out, you will not be able to work more than 48 hours per week. You must keep the Business informed of the hours that you work for any third parties so that it can meet this obligation.
- If you are unable to work the hours you have agreed to work, you must contact us no later than 30 minutes before you are due to start work to explain why you are unable to work.
- If you satisfy the qualifying conditions laid down by law, you will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) for any period of sickness or injury during any agreed work hours, but you will not receive any other payments from the Business during that time.
- The Business will process personal data and sensitive personal data ('special categories of personal data') about you in accordance with our Data Protection Policy and Data Protection Privacy Notice, available upon request or the Staff Handbook.
- 'Personal data' includes references, personal records, emails containing personal details, addresses and details of contractual benefits.
- 'Sensitive personal data' includes information about:
- your health, to monitor sick leave and take decisions about your fitness for work; and
- your racial or ethnic origin or religious or similar information in order to monitor compliance with equal opportunities legislation.
- You will comply with your obligations under our Data Protection Policy and other relevant policies.
- We will process your data in accordance with our Data Protection Privacy Notice, specifically to:
- meet our obligations under your contract; and
- ensure that we are complying with our legal obligations.
In other cases, we have a legitimate interest in processing your data before, during and after the end of the business relationship.
- The Business may transfer personal data and sensitive personal data outside the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) in accordance with the Business' Data Protection Privacy Notice.
- You shall not use or disclose any confidential information to anyone, during or at any time after working for the Business. Confidential information means any information or matter which is not in the public domain and relates to the Business or its business contacts. The restriction in this clause does not apply to:
- prevent you from making a protected disclosure within the meaning of section 43A of the Employment Rights Act 1996; or
- use or disclosure that has been authorised by the Business or is required by law or in the course of your duties.
Business Rules and Procedures
- During each piece of work you are required at all times to comply with Business rules, policies and procedures in force from time to time.
- All documents, hardware and software provided for your use by the Business, and any data or documents (including copies) produced, maintained or stored on the Business computer systems or other electronic equipment (including mobile phones), remain the property of the Business.
- Any Business property in your possession, including any original or copy documents obtained by you in the course of your work for the Business, shall be returned to us at any time on request and always at the end of each piece of work.
- If you no longer want to be considered for casual work by the Business you should inform us in writing as soon as possible.
- The Business has the right to end this agreement immediately in writing if it reasonably considers that you have committed any serious breach of its terms or committed any act of gross misconduct. Examples of gross misconduct might include dishonesty, theft, fighting, misuse of drugs or alcohol or any other acts or omissions which might bring the Business into disrepute, but this is not a full list of gross misconduct offences.
Changing Terms and Conditions
- The Business has the right to update the terms on which it offers casual work by writing to you to terminate this contract with immediate effect and you may, at the Business' absolute discretion, be offered a new contract for casual work. If the Business decides to terminate this contract you will not be entitled to any further payments from the Business other than any outstanding wages and holiday pay.
- This contract fully and accurately sets out the intentions, expectations and all of the terms agreed by both parties relating to when you are working for the Business. Any changes to this contract will only be valid if they are recorded in writing and signed by both parties. You confirm that you have read and understood this document in full and have had the opportunity to take advice where necessary.
- This agreement shall be governed by and interpreted according to the law of England and Wales and all disputes arising under the agreement (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.
About Zero Hours Contracts
Learn more about making your Zero Hours Contract
How to make a Zero Hours Contract
Making a Zero Hours Contract online is simple. Just answer a few questions and Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. When you have all of the details prepared in advance, making your document is a quick and easy process.
To make your Zero Hours Contract you will need the following information:
Your details, including who will sign the Contract.
Your future worker’s details.
What’s the worker’s job title?
When will the job start?
Will the worker always work at the same location? If so, where will they work?
What is a summary of the worker’s duties?
How much will the worker be paid per hour?
When will the worker be paid?
Will the worker receive a bonus or overtime pay?
When does your holiday year start and end?
Common terms in a Zero Hours Contract
A Zero Hours Contract sets out the parameters of the relationship between an employer and a worker. To do this, a Zero Hours Contract will typically include:
employer and worker details - the name, address, and other details of the business or individual who is the employer and of the worker
status of this agreement - sets out that the agreement is a casual contract (not an employment contract) and that the employer is not under an obligation to provide work nor is the worker required to accept work
how work will be offered and carried out - sets out how work will be offered to the worker (by phone or email). Workers who accept work offered to them are expected to carry out and complete the work
type of work - provides the worker’s job title and a summary of their duties, should they choose to accept the work offered
pay and benefits - explains what the employee will be paid per hour and how they will receive their wage. It also sets out any benefits the worker may be entitled to
place of work, hours and holiday - sets out where the worker will carry out the work and that they are entitled to an unpaid meal break. It also sets out the worker’s holiday entitlement and the duration of the employer’s leave year
working time opt-out - the worker should keep the employer informed of the hours they work per week (including for other businesses). The employer should ask them to complete a Working time opt-out letter agreement if they work more than 48 hours per week
sickness - if a worker is sick and unable to attend work, they should let the employer know at least 30 minutes before they were expected to start working. Workers who qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) will receive SSP when off sick from work for the required period
data protection - a commitment by the employer to adhere to:
confidential information - requires the worker not to disclose any confidential information they gained access to while working for the employer
business property - all property belonging to the employer (including documents, hardware and software) which was provided to the worker remains the employers’ property and must be returned when the worker stops working for the employer
termination - when and how the employer-worker relationship can be brought to an ended
If you want your Zero Hours Contract to include further or more detailed provisions, you can edit your document. However, if you do this, you may want a lawyer to review or change the Contract for you, to make sure it complies with all relevant laws and meets your specific needs. Ask a lawyer for assistance.
Legal tips for employers
Setting out the parameters of an employer-worker relationship in a formal contract helps the relationship begin with clarity and efficiency. To manage this process as well as possible, consider the following tips:
Determine whether a Zero Hours Contract is suitable for your situation
You should only rely on Zero Hours Contracts where appropriate for your business. The flexibility of Zero Hours Contracts should be used where the workload is irregular and there isn’t a consistent need for staff to work regular hours. You shouldn’t use Zero Hours Contracts where workers would, in practice, work regular hours. Where this is the case, you should consider alternative means of providing flexibility (eg by considering flexible working options).
Make sure that you uphold workers’ employment rights
Employment law is complex and, even though workers aren’t employees, they too are entitled to certain legal rights. It’s important that you make and follow provisions for ensuring these rights are upheld, including, but not limited to, workers’ rights to:
holiday leave and pay
Consider what HR policies you may need to have in place
While workers have fewer employment rights than employees, they are still entitled to certain rights. To help workers understand what they are entitled to, and to ensure you meet your legal obligations as an employer, it is advisable to have certain HR policies in place. This Zero Hours Contract specifically mentions the following policies which you should consider adopting:
a Data protection and security policy - setting out the policies and procedures you comply with when dealing with personal information and personal data
an Employee privacy notice - to inform staff about how you collect, use, retain and disclose their personal data
a Communications and equipment policy - setting out how members of staff are monitored at work
a bespoke criminal records information policy - if you process criminal offence data
Ensure compliance with the 48-hour work week
Workers over the age of 18 must not work more than 48 hours a week, which includes time spent in other jobs. As a result, it’s important that you’re aware of how many hours your staff work, including for others. If your workers work more than 48 hours per week, they should use a Working time directive opt-out letter to opt out of the 48-hour work week. Take care not to pressure your workers into signing an opt-out agreement as they are only valid if the worker freely consents to them. For more information, read How to opt-out staff from the 48 hour week.
Be aware that exclusivity provisions are unenforceable
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 prohibits employers from including exclusivity provisions in their Zero Hours Contracts. This means that employers cannot require workers to only work for them and not any other businesses. Similarly, employers cannot require workers to gain their permission before working for another business. Any such provisions are unenforceable and employers should not seek to require exclusivity from their workers under a Zero Hours Contract.
Understand when to seek advice from a lawyer
In certain circumstances, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer about your Zero Hours Contract or to have them review it. You should Ask a lawyer for advice if:
you intend to create an employment relationship (ie between an employer and employee) under a zero-hours (or other) contract
the workers are based outside England, Wales or Scotland
Zero Hours Contract FAQs
What's included in a Zero Hours Contract?
This Zero Hours Contract template covers:
the type of work that will be offered to the worker and how it will be offered
how work will be carried out
terms relating to pay and benefits
the place of work, agreed hours and holidays
terms relating to sickness
arrangements for ending the agreement
Do I need a Zero Hours Contract?
You should use a Zero Hours Contract when you cannot guarantee hours for staff or want them to have flexible working arrangements. Zero Hours Contracts are frequently used where the demand of work fluctuates, for unexpected or last-minute events, or for on-call/bank work.
You should not use Zero Hours Contracts to run the main functions of a business or where staff members will work regular hours over an extended period.
Making a Zero Hours Contract also helps you provide workers with a written statement of employment particulars (ie their terms and conditions of work). All workers are entitled to a principal statement on their first day while a wider written statement must be provided within two months of starting work.
For more information, read Zero-hours contracts.
What is the difference between a Zero Hours Contract and an employment contract?
The key difference between a Zero Hours Contract and an employment contract is that there is no mutuality of obligation. In other words, a Zero Hours Contract, unlike an employment contract, does not require an employer to offer work or for workers to accept it.
Are individuals on Zero Hours Contracts workers or employees?
Individuals on Zero Hours Contracts can be workers or employees. This will depend on their employment status. This Zero Hours Contract sets out that individuals hired under it are workers. For more information on the different types of employment status, read Consultants, workers and employees.
Zero-hours workers are entitled to basic employment rights including annual leave and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) regardless of whether they’re classed as workers or employees. See ‘Are Zero Hours Contract entitled to holiday pay and sick pay’ below for more information.
For more information on the employment status of zero hours workers, read Zero-hours contracts.
Can an employment relationship arise based on a Zero Hours Contract?
A Zero Hours Contract typically creates a 'worker' relationship. However, an employer-employee relationship may develop over time.
In most cases, using a Zero Hours Contract means that an employer recruits a 'worker' at first. However, the way the working relationship develops over time may enhance the employment status of the worker (eg because the actual working arrangements indicate that the worker is in fact an employee). If a dispute arises about an individual’s employment status, the Employment Tribunal has the power to decide the contractual relationship that exists between the employer and worker.
This Contract reflects the employer’s intention to only treat zero hours workers as workers and not as employees.
Are zero hours workers entitled to holiday pay and sick pay?
Zero hours workers are entitled to a variety of employment rights, including:
annual leave and holiday pay
the right to work no more than the 48-hour work week (or to opt-out of this)
protection from unlawful deductions from their wages
protection from discrimination
protection from being subjected to a detriment (eg loss of work) for failing to comply with an exclusivity provision
As zero hours workers don't normally have 'employee' status, they are not entitled to statutory minimum notice periods, statutory redundancy pay or time off for emergencies. They’re also not entitled to claim unfair dismissal or request flexible working.
For more information, read Zero-hours contracts.
How can a Zero Hours Contract be ended?
An employer has the right to end this agreement immediately in writing if a worker has committed:
a serious breach of the contract’s terms
gross misconduct (eg dishonesty, theft or misuse of drugs)
A worker can terminate this agreement by informing the employer as soon as possible that they no longer want to be considered their casual worker. This should be done in writing.
Can I transfer workers’ data out of the UK or EEA?
This document gives you the right to transfer workers’ data out of the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA). However, the employer can only transfer personal data outside of the UK or EEA if there are appropriate safeguards in place (eg the organisation receiving the data is certified under an approved certification mechanism or certain model clauses are used). Such safeguards should be set out in your Data protection policy. For more information, read International transfers of personal data.