Unlike a traditional contract of employment, a zero-hours contract offers no guarantee of work. Many employers use such contracts to cover situations where work fluctuates, and many individuals also find this to be a suitable working arrangement. However, there has been criticism of their widespread use in the UK. Although there is currently no legal definition for a zero-hours contract, employers need to ensure that written contracts contain provisions setting out the employment status, rights and obligations of their zero-hours staff.
This factsheet examines the business rationale for considering zero-hours contracts in the workplace, and the issues to consider when using zero-hours contracts. It also examines legal changes surrounding zero-hours contracts and puts forward good practice recommendations for areas where employers might need to improve their working practices.
Explore our viewpoint on employment status, rights and regulation in more detail, along with actions for government and recommendations for employers.
This factsheet was last updated by Mark Beatson, Senior Labour Market Analyst, CIPD
Mark’s role contributes to strengthening the CIPD’s ability to lead thinking and influence policy making across the whole spectrum of people management and workplace issues. Prior to joining the CIPD, Mark worked as an economist in the Civil Service, latterly at Chief Economist/Director level, in a range of Government departments.
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