Zero-Hours Contract is a type of contract where the worker does not work for fixed time and fixed salary. The workers are called when required. Workers are paid on hourly basis. The employer is not bound to provide fixed minimum hours to work and also the worker is also not bound to accept whatever hours and work timings are offered. But rejection of work can cause reprimand to the worker as employer can deliberately reduce his/her working hours. This type contract is prevalent in UK where the maximum work force is employed under this contract.
This is a controversial type of employment. The reason of controversy is whether this type of employment is helping people or not. One strong viewpoint on this controversy is that it provides flexible work opportunities. Those who do not want to get employed for fixed hours and fixed timings are benefitted, for example, students, home maker ladies and old people. They are more likely to do part time work. The work provided by catering, education and hotel industry can be more suitable for zero-hours contract.
However, the other strong viewpoint which comes out of this controversy is that the workers are not able to enjoy their employment rights. This contract does not provide financial security and stability. It becomes worse for the workers if they are living under debt and have to pay installments of various things every month. Many instances of public agitations and protests by workers have been seen in UK against this contract. A worker can be asked not to come to work or can be retrenched without giving reason or by giving any reason. This is because the employers do not have to show any ‘Just Cause’ for retrenchment as in the case of permanent employment provided under employment contract. Under zero-hours contract workers are not entitled to any kind of leaves like sick leave, holidays etc.