3. Zero/Variable Hours Contract of Employment
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3. Zero/Variable Hours Contract of Employment

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This is a variable hours contract of employment template ready for you to adapt for your business.  Variable hours contracts of employment, are also called zero hours contracts and are a form of flexible working.

A zero hours contract of employment should only be used where the working hours cannot be guaranteed due to irregular demand and are truly variable.  If work becomes regular you should offer a part-time contract of employment with set days and hours, or a minimum number of hours per week, to make sure that this type of contract is not misused and your reputation as an employer is not adversely affected.

Under a zero hours contract, the employer agrees to provide work when it is available and the employee agrees to accept the work offered during agreed days and times.  This could be for example, an agreement to clean in a hotel between the hours of 9 am and 12 noon Wednesday to Sunday, when work is available due to bookings and to cover staff holidays and absenteeism.

A note on Casual Worker Agreements and Zero Hours Contracts

A Casual Worker Agreement or a Zero Hours Agreement can be put in place where the need for an additional worker is truly irregular and the Employer is not able to guarantee a minimum number of regular hours. 

Whether it should be a Casual Worker Agreement or a Zero Hours Agreement depends on something called, mutuality of obligation. 

No mutuality of obligation exists where an employer does not have to offer work and the employee does not have to accept it.  

With a Casual Worker Agreement, the Company is not obliged to offer work to the Worker when it is available and equally, the Worker does not have to accept it.  This could cause a problem if you need extra staff and your casual workers refuse to work and in any environment requiring minimum staffing levels.

In the case of a Zero Hours Contract of Employment, although the Employer does not guarantee a minimum number of working hours, the Employer commits to providing work when it is available and the individual agrees to accept it.  It could be that a person agrees to work Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 pm to Midnight when you need extra help in your restaurant, under a Zero Hours Agreement.

This Zero/Variable Hours Contract also includes additional clauses for you to choose from, including a drivers licence clause, call out allowance, discretionary bonus, production based bonus, commission, fuel card, health and safety, confidentiality, equality and diversity, dress code/uniform/company branded clothing and PPE.


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