Because contracts can agree any terms that are not prohibited by law it is possible for an employee or worker to have a contract which allows them to vary the hours to suit their need for workers
at any particular time.
Contracts that allow employers to reduce the hours of work for an employee or worker to zero and so allow them not to give work to the employee or send them home when they are not
required have become known as 'zero hours' contracts.
Zero hours contracts may allow an employee to refuse work that is offered which may make the contract more of a casual employment relationship than a contract of employment.
In some zero hours contracts the employer also requires that the employee does not work for any other employer so they will always be available for work even though no work may be
From 26 May 2015 exclusivity clauses in employment contracts will be unenforceable and so the employee cannot be prevented from taking other work if none is being offered by that
The employment rights that apply to a zero hours contract will be the same as for any other contract so rights such as National Minimum Wage, Working Time Regulations, discrimination, unfair
dismissal and redundancy all may apply.
Difficulties in applying some employment rights may arise because of showing continuity of employment that some rights require or employers simply not offering work when certain issues arise
such as sickness.
Whilst zero hours contracts offer significant flexibility for employers and employees there are some significant problems with being employed on a zero hours contract: