Key things to know about zero hour contracts

With a growth in people looking for jobs which alternate from the standard 9 – 5, it’s no surprise that different types of contracts are being developed to incorporate a more flexible style of working.

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One of these “new” contracts is the zero hour, meaning simply that employers do not have to offer a minimum number of working hours for the employee, and the employee is not obligated to accept any hours offered to them.

These types of employment contracts are particularly popular in hospitality and care sectors, as they allow employers to have a number of employees ‘on call’ for emergencies, without having to guarantee a set number of hours for each employee to be at work.


Previously, zero hour contracts were able to include ‘exclusivity clauses’, preventing employees from seeking other work alongside their job.

In May 2016, these clauses were abolished and it’s now an offence to dismiss an employee for breaching a clause preventing work with another employer during their employment, or for causing an employee to suffer detriment for working elsewhere.

If you’re on a zero hours contract and believe you’re being treated unfairly due to employment elsewhere, speak to your Manchester solicitors for advice.

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Manchester solicitors such as Bridge Law are experts on zero hour contracts and the rights which come with them.

As zero hour contracts usually involve “worker” employment status, employees are entitled to many of the same rights of normal employees including annual leave, minimum wage and national living wage. They can also accrue additional rights if there are no gaps in employment which might affect eligibility.


For employers, hiring candidates on zero hour contracts allows them access to a pool of staff to fill in when demand arises without having to guarantee work. Offering zero hour contracts can be cheaper than using an agency to fill short term or emergency positions.

The benefits aren’t just for the employer; employees can benefit from flexible employment whilst being protected by many of the same rights as normal workers. There’s no requirement to accept work and consequences cannot exist for declining shifts or working for another employer at the same time. It also offers employees the chance to gain experience and skills which might otherwise be difficult to obtain.

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