Zero hour contracts are in the spotlight once more after the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled under the Working Time Regulation that non- guaranteed overtime should be factored into holiday pay.
Meaning employees who are required to work regular overtime as stated in their contracts will receive holiday pay calculated on the number of hours worked rather than their basic hours. This marks a huge shift towards reducing the difference in working conditions between salaried employees and those contracted to work a set number of hours per week.
The two main issues that arise with overtime not being factored into holiday entitlement are the drastic drop in the amount an employee receives in wages during the weeks they take off as holiday and where holiday entitlement is meant to provide 4 weeks of leave (if you’re contracted to work 15 hours per week, 15 hours should cover a weeks holiday), an employee may find they are asked to come into work when their 15 hours are up but during their week off.
I’ve worked as a salaried, contract and zero hour employee. What it boils down to is how a company values and respects its employees’. Some choose to use employment laws (or lack of them) to extract what they can from each employee for the minimum outlay. Adopting a ‘well their lucky to have a job and if they don’t like it they can leave’ attitude. Other employers acknowledge treating their staff well is good for business in the long run (motivated staff will inevitably lead to increased profits). Both types of employers exist with the majority falling somewhere in-between.
I’ve witnessed first hand how useful zero hour contracts can be, a colleague of mine wanted to spend a few months a year at her holiday home but this was only possible because she wasn’t contracted to work every week. Equally I’ve heard horror stories from friends on zero hour contracts that lead me to believe legislation is the only way to guarantee employees are not miss treated. What this may be and how it would work…. well I’ll leave that to the experts.