Zero Hours Contracts
From Zero to Nil
A zero hours employment contract is one where an employee must be available for work, but the hours of work are not detailed. It is heavily weighted in favour of the employer. It is reminicient of the old “hiring fairs” where workers turned up each day hoping to be chosen. At least at the hiring fair you were usually hired for the season. In the zero contract the worker must be available for work for a certain number of hours per week, or when required, or both.
Am I protected under the Organisation of Working Time Acts 1997 - 2012 ?
Some protection is afforded by the Organisation of Working Time Acts 1997-2012 .
A worker in a zero hours contract who is required to be available for work,and works less than 25% of their hours in any week should be compensated. The amount of payment received depends on whether they got some work or no work at all. If they got no work at all they are entitled to payment of either 25% of the possible hours or 15 hours, whichever is less. Where they have worked some hours, they are entitled to receive compensation equal to 25% of the available hours.
The Acts do not protect casual workers.
The protection does not apply to fully “zero hours” contracts. This is where there is no guaranteed number of hours and the employee is not obliged to work. This must be the case in practice. It cannot be a paper exercise.
Zero will soon mean Zero (almost !)
The Irish Government has announced plans to introduce employment legislation which will meet the challenge of precarious work, casualisation and low hour contracts. This will lead to the banning of Zero hours contracts in most circumstances.
It is proposed that where a worker is called in to work and then not given work, they will be entitled to compensation equal to three hours pay at three times the national minimum wage, or the applicable wage agreement.
It is also proposed to give workers the right to more detailed information regarding their terms of employment within five days of starting a job.
Where can I get more details ?
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Image courtesy Rain Love AMR Some modification (banner)