1. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

Zero hours contracts

Discussion in 'off topic' started by hifinutt, Sep 21, 2022 at 2:40 PM.

  1. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    . . . Though this government website suggests things are slightly different

  2. snowflake

    snowflake Former Albino Ape

    OT - apologies but I was an IT contractor back then, and the mortgage people didn't bat an eye lid, even counted my dividends as income towards it, but I think I had a about 4 years accounts of similar earning to back it up.

  3. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    I quite like the idea of zero hours contracts for when I retire from my main job. The flexibility will be more for my benefit than for the employers in that case.
  4. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Holiday pay perks?
    They earn vastly more pro rata to make up for no holiday pay.
  5. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    There isn't always, contracts vary.

    We essentially do zero hours for our grader staff, after a few wet days we run out of odd jobs they can do.

    If they don't turn up for work on a busy day we're potentially stuffed so they have to be available when the sun shines.

    Summer's their harvest time too so not a problem; i've got one with a broken leg at the moment who's desperate to come back. Needs some sort of paper from the doctor before i'll risk that.
  6. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    As an employee you can have a number of ZHC, it's up to you. If you have any sense you as an employee retain the power to say "no sorry, I can't do tomorrow, I'm going to my other job" and there's nothing in a ZHC per se that says that you can't refuse the work or work elsewhere, unless you are a fool and sign up to a contract that says that you can't refuse. I'm pretty sure that's illegal in any case.
    I've a friend who's a muso, he has gigs, repairs musical instruments, and does casual gardening work for another mate with a gardening business. Effectively the latter is a ZHC. It suits all concerned.
    "Can you do next Wednesday?"
    "No, sorry, got my other job. I'm free Friday"
    "OK, I'll move the Wednesday work to Friday, see you at 8 on Friday"
    I regard them as the equivqlent of the casual farm labour I used to do as a student, or pub and shop work that others did, or the agency work that we get in food factories to pack Christmas orders etc. They are even looser than those contracts, but if you want 40 hours a week, it's out there, plenty of employers are hiring. Every factory in the industrial estate here wants staff. Ours does, from box packers to skilled, there's a haulier offering LGV and HGV driving work, a kitchens outfit needs joiners, the list is long and varied. Not ZHC, full time, fixed hours, temporary, perm or temp to perm. There are 1.5M vacancies in the UK right now, and 1.5M unemployed. Not in the same place, of course, and not at the level that everyone wants, but there's no need for anyone to accept a lousy deal because that's all that's on offer.
    dweezil likes this.
  7. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Sadly, you are right!
  8. KrisW

    KrisW pfm Member

    @stevec67 “zero-hour” covers a multitude of contract types, but I’d argue that your mate doing the gardening work is not a typical ZHC worker if he gets to negotiate his times of work with his employer - he may even be a self-employed contractor, depending on how he’s paid. For someone on a typical ZHC, such negotiation is not an option - it’s normally “take it or lose it”, and not taking hours will eventually have you dropped- this is how you can be held to availability despite it being illegal to ask for it explicitly: if you keep declining hours, you’ll quickly find that you end up on zero every week.

    You mentioned “dividends” — were you contracting via your own limited company (pre-IR35)? If so, you were considered an employee for the bank’s purposes: it didn’t matter if you were the proprietor of your employer - if bank could see you had money and wanted to give you a mortgage, and you have a job with a company and payslips to prove it; that was good enough.
    Brian likes this.
  9. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    He very much is a zhc worker, or if you prefer, a casual. I know both of them well, I know exactly how it works. Of course it you regularly turn down work you risk getting dropped, just as the employers risk getting dropped it the employee has more than one source of work and one of their employers offers less work. That's the nature of casual work, overtime, all the rest. If I run a factory and I agree Saturday overtime with 10 people but only 5 show up, guess who gets the call the next week. Same goes for the employees. They aren't slaves, as I said earlier there are employers a over town looking for labour. It's not 1983 any more, thank Christ.
  10. Minio

    Minio Not flakey and never soggy ...

    There have always been zhc's but they didn't have that title in my day.

    With casual employers, back in the 80`s, I took took the attitude that if you can't take me seriously, don't be surprised if I find something better and don't turn up tomorrow.

    Which is what I did.

    People are only exploited if they don't do very well out of it.

    I've known people in telecom contracting to get eye wateringly high rates but no guarantee of continuing work.

    Unless they get on with the right people.
  11. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr neither here nor there

    Perhaps there should be some form of time limit on how long an employer can use a zhc without the worker’s consent. So, say, a review after 12 months and either the employee indicates agreement to continue with the zhc terms (ie, it suits them) or they can ask for some deeper commitment to a minimum from the employer.
    No doubt some employers would still exploit this (eg people get dropped after a year) but by then, if an employee is decent, most reasonable employers would want to retain them rather than go through the hassle of recruit/retrain.
    ff1d1l and farfromthesun like this.
  12. snowflake

    snowflake Former Albino Ape

    OT again, sorry, You are correct, I was a employee in my own limited company (even into IR35 - but managed to duck it - which was nice), I naturally assumed all IT cons worked this way back in the day, a few I knew used umbrella companies or whatever, but they often had a shady financial past :)

  13. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    The clearest way to improve working conditions, pay, control inflation and stabilise the economy, is to guarantee a job on an living wage with pension and holiday entitlements, that is paid for from central government but administered at a local level to meet local need.

    Anyone who then wishes to retain the flexibility of a ZHC can still do so, while those who wish for better paid, more secure work, can join the Job Guarantee.
    vince rocker and Sue Pertwee-Tyr like this.
  14. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    What jobs will people be doing under a guarantee? How much are they paid and are they all paid the same? How much are the pensions and how are they funded (given many existing schemes have huge black holes and are ticking timebombs)?
  15. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    As already said, funding would come from government, and as such funding would be anti inflationary, there is no ‘ticking time bomb’.

    The jobs would be for local need, of which there is masses, building cycle paths, installing insulation in homes, repairing potholes and a host of other needs. Perhaps, with time and a little imagination, more ambitious schemes, like training people to help in hospitals and schools.

    They would be paid a minimum wage, £15 an hour seems reasonable at present, and pensions commensurate with other workers employed locally, such as refuse collectors.
  16. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    A bit like Greece did with their pensions?! No ticking timebomb there.
    Who on earth is going to administer and run all this? Thousands more people on govt salaries and pensions presumably?
  17. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    And there's the snag for many people on zero hours contracts. Easier to do if you have skills that are in demand. Much harder if you're, say, a cleaner on minimum wage.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  18. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    Cuts to pensions in Greece has caused 1.5 m pensioners to fall below the poverty line and a total income loss of 70%, so not sure what your point is there.

    As already said, Local authorities would administer the scheme, but it would be funded by central government. Quite possibly creating decent jobs for people, why is that a problem?
  19. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    My point being the Greek pensions were over generous and unaffordable so they had to change.
    Are you suggesting LA’s have the capacity to run this stuff or will they need more staff themselves? Where will staff / jobs come from? There’s already a chronic labour shortage in the UK.
  20. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    Greek pensions were not over generous. Yes, they had a higher overall government spending but that was mostly because it has a larger than average population over the age of 65. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an article call Greek Pensions Are Not Generous After All its spending per pensioner is lower than Germany’s and pensions overall are relatively small.

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice