April 15, 2019

zero hour workers

The rules around zero hour contract workers can seem complex to those who are used to dealing with more traditional employment contracts. Here, we’re going to break down what the law ensures zero hour workers, as well as addressing questions such as whether those workers get paid time off, and how to calculate the hours that they’re entitled to.

Zero hour contract holiday pay entitlement laws

All workers are legally entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of paid holidays. For most traditional employees who work five days a week, this amounts to 28 days a year, but calculating that amount for zero hour contract workers can be trickier.

Workers on a zero hour contract have just as much entitled to holiday pay as their full-time equivalents. Since they work fewer hours, on average, they might be entitled to less, but they are guaranteed annual leave.

However, whether public or bank holidays have to be given as paid holidays is a different matter. This is defined not by the law, but your employment contract. You don’t have to offer paid time off for Bank Holidays, nor do you have to grant paid overtime, but many companies choose to in order to ensure morale.

How much paid holiday leave are zero hour workers entitled to?

Since zero hour contract workers may not work a fixed amount of days a week, working out their entitlement in terms of hours can be easier than trying to work how many days that they are allowed to take.

If you have multiple zero hour contract employees that each work a different amount of hours from one another, you may have to figure out what they are entitled to individually.

The average worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks as a percentage of the total hours they work in a year. This percentage works out to 12.07%, which can be applied to your zero hour workers as well.

Working our zero hour contract leave

Since your zero hour contract workers are entitled to 12.07% of their total hours worked as holiday leave, it might be best for you to build their leave up over time-based on how much they work a week.

So, say that they work 10 hours a week. To work how much leave they get from that week, you can divide the number of hours they work (10) by 100, then multiply it by the percentage they’re entitled to (12.07), and you see they have earned roughly 1.2 hours of paid time off.

The government does provide a holiday entitlement calculator if you want to work out how much leave they have accrued so far, but it’s recommended you implement a system that automatically determines how much leave they earn over each week.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your zero hour contract workers and their holiday entitlements, Neathouse Partners can help you clarify them all. Get in touch with our team of employment law and HR specialists, and you can make sure you’re staying compliant every step of the way.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.