3 in 5 workers are unaware of zero hours contracts rights

Susan Clews (ACAS)

A NEW survey from Acas has found that three in five workers (61%) are unaware of the rights of people on zero hours contracts.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask workers at the end of August on how aware, if at all, they were of the rights of a worker employed on a zero hours contract.

A zero hours contract is usually where an employer does not have to give any minimum working hours and a worker does not have to take any work offered. The employment status of a zero hours worker can vary depending on the exact nature of the working arrangement. 

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: 

“Our poll reveals that most workers are unaware of workplace rights under zero hours contracts. They may seem complex but there are key rights that apply to everyone under these arrangements.

“Acas has advice in this area and a new law next year aims to give zero hours contracts workers the right to request more predictability around their working pattern.

“We are currently consulting on a new Code of Practice to help businesses and workers understand the new law and provide good practice around requests for a predictable working pattern.”

Acas advice is that someone on a zero hours contract could be legally classed as an employee or a worker and their employment status will determine their legal rights. The following rights will always apply to anyone on a zero hours contract:

  • National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage;
  • paid holiday;
  • rest breaks;
  • protection from discrimination; and
  • receiving pay slips.

Employers must grant all relevant statutory employment rights to people who work under these arrangements.

Acas is currently consulting on its new draft statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern. It aims to ensure that requests are handled in a reasonable manner so that a worker’s request is fully understood and considered.

The consultation closes on 17 January 2024. To respond please see: https://www.acas.org.uk/predictable-working-pattern-code-consultation

Acas’s advice on zero hours contracts is available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/zero-hours-contracts

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act is expected to come into force in Autumn 2024.

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