Election 2015

Reality Check: Do zero-hours contracts give rights?

The employment rights you get depend on whether you are classed as an employee or a worker.

All workers are entitled to annual leave and the National Minimum Wage. Employees get additional rights, such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed, maternity rights and redundancy rights.

Which category you fall into depends on the type of contract you have and the obligations between the employer and the employee to provide work and accept work.

The defining feature of a zero-hours contract is that the employer doesn't guarantee work and the worker doesn't guarantee acceptance of work. So in most cases those on zero-hours contracts count as workers.

As the House of Commons Library notes "the distinction between these concepts is complex and the subject of much debate".

It's not just about the wording of your contract, what happens in practice counts too. If there is a regular pattern of work, which is regularly accepted, then an Employment Tribunal can - and indeed they have - deem the contract to be one of employment.

Election 2015 - Reality Check

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