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The Zero Hours Contracts Bill 2013-2014, a Private Members' Bill, was published on 23 January 2014. The Bill aims to prohibit the use of zero hours contracts.
It defines a zero hours contract as a contract or arrangement for provision of labour which fails to specify guaranteed working hours, but requires the worker to work (or be available for work) exclusively for one employer. The Bill is scheduled to have its second reading debate on 28 February 2014. However, as a Private Members' Bill, it is unlikely to become law.
For a contract of employment to arise there must at least exist an obligation to personally perform the work, mutuality of obligations between employer and employee, and a sufficient element ofcontrol over the employee's work and employers should remember that a contract of employment can exist whether the terms have been expressed or implied and, if expressed, whether oral or in writing.
Many employers believe that zero hours and casual working are the same thing and this can often be problematic, particularly in circumstances where terms and conditions have not been set out clearly and in writing and we therefore recommend employers take legal advice to ensure they have the appropriate contracts in place.
If you are thinking of employing staff on a zero hours arrangement or would simply like to review your current contracts of employment give us a call today on 0141 611 9785.