Zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts can be a flexible option for both employers and workers. For example, if the work is not constant or ‘as and when’.

If you have a zero-hours contract:

  • your employer does not have to give you any minimum working hours
  • you do not have to take any work offered

Types of work that might use zero-hours contracts include:

  • bank work (for example, for the NHS)
  • casual hours (for example, students who only work during holidays)
  • care work
  • delivery driving
  • gig economy work (for example, delivering takeaway food or giving car-rides)
  • hospitality work
  • warehouse work

Your rights under a zero-hours contract

By law, if you have a zero-hours contract, you have the right to:

Depending on your contract and circumstances, you might have more rights. So it’s a good idea to check your employment status matches with your contract.

Working for more than one employer

By law, your employer cannot stop you working for another employer if you’re on a zero-hours contract.

Your employer cannot treat you unfairly if you do work for another employer. If you’re an employee, they cannot dismiss you for it. This law still applies even if your employer says you’ve broken your contract by working for someone else.

Breaks in employment contracts

If you’re not provided work for a full calendar week (7 consecutive days from Sunday to the following Saturday), this usually counts as a break in employment.

If there is a break in your employment, your employer must pay you for:

  • any holiday you’ve built up and not taken
  • outstanding wages and notice pay (if you were employed for more than a month, or if your contract says so)

When your employment has been continuous, with no break, you might have more employment rights.

For example, depending on your contract, after your first year you might not have to build up holiday before you can take it.

Rest breaks

Under zero-hours contracts, you have the same rights as other employees to:

  • rest breaks at work
  • rest between working days or shifts
  • weekly rest periods

Find out more about rest breaks.

If you think your employer is not following the law

If you think you’re not getting what you’re entitled to, for example rest breaks or pay, you should first raise the issue with your employer.

Zero-hours contracts