With the election over, what next for zero hours contracts?

We look at the Hospitality sector to find out...

Figures published earlier in the year by the Office for National Statistics showed that 53% of employers in the “accommodation and food” sector made use of zero hours contracts.

Without doubt they can be a great option for employers looking to engage someone on a genuine ad hoc basis. Under a zero hours contract there is no guarantee of work from the employer and the worker is expected to be available for work if and when it is offered. For anyone running their own café, restaurant, pub, bar, B&B or hotel, this offers flexibility while minimising the legal obligations to the worker.

During the election campaign Labour promised to legislate to ensure that someone working regular hours would have a right to an Employment Contract after just 12 weeks. This is not to be. However changes are afoot, with the likely coming into force of a prohibition on exclusivity clauses preventing people from working for other businesses. Draft regulations, the Zero Hours Workers (Exclusivity Terms) Regulations 2015, have been introduced to Parliament and while the Government will continue to tinker to combat abuse it is clear zero hours contracts are here to stay.

What remains as important as ever is that employers receive proper legal advice on any zero hours contracts they offer. Contracts must be carefully drafted to provide that the new starter will be a worker and not an employee will the full range of employment rights. Employers also need a good grasp of the surrounding issues as the Tribunal is not bound by what is simply written on the page. The true intention of the parties and what actually happens day to day could result in a dispute and a successful challenge. We find there is also general confusion on everyday issues such as holidays and other benefits. Early expert advice is key.

Whether you are in the Hospitality sector or not, we can help with zero hours contracts. For an initial free of charge consultation, please call 0113 201 4900 or email employment.law@emsleys.com.

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