There are currently around three quarters of a million people employed under zero hours contracts in the UK, this equates to 1 in 40 of all employees. Following on from the banning of exclusivity clauses in May, the government has now released further guidance on what is and isn’t acceptable in zero hours contracts.

According to the guidance zero hours contracts are useful when work demands are irregular or where there is not a constant demand for staff. They also allow staff flexibility when they work, it defines five scenarios where zero hours contracts should be used, including:

 New businesses where there might not be a steady amount of work yet

 Existing businesses looking to trial a new service or product

 Seasonal businesses

 Businesses looking to cover unexpected absences in critical roles at short notice

 Hospitality companies looking to take on additional staff for special events



The guidance also gives examples of when zero hours contracts should not be given, including:

 If there is a consistent guarantee of hours

 If overtime or agency staff can be used instead

 If part time or fixed term staff can be recruited

Lastly the job should be clearly advertised as being zero hours and any company that does have zero hours staff will need to have a policy on acceptable late cancellations of work. The policy should outline the circumstances in which work might be cancelled at short notice and what compensation might be given to the employee. For advice or help drafting a policy please click here.