A casual worker is often called a zero hour worker but there is no clear definition of what is meant by a zero hour contract. Casual workers are typically used by businesses where it doesn’t make sense for staff to be hired on a full time or part time basis as employees. Instead, a business might require flexibility and a casual worker agreement provides for this. Under a casual worker agreement the worker has a different employment relationship with the business and employment status than employees. Crucially, there is no mutuality of obligation between the business and the worker. This means that there is no guarantee of working hours and that the business is under no obligation to offer certain shifts and that the worker is under no obligation to accept those that they are offered. Casual workers do still possess statutory rights in the United Kingdom and it is important that you abide by these, including any relevant working time regulations, in addition to general health and safety requirements. Providing your workers with a casual worker contract is just as important as the contracts of employment your full time staff might have and are key in making sure both parties understand their rights and obligations.
You should use a casual working agreement when you want to take on casual workers- often referred to in the media as zero hour workers. Casual workers are great if you require flexible working to keep your business providing a continuous service in busy seasons, such as during the Christmas period. Common types of work that use zero hour contracts are:
It is also common for students to be casual workers as they can work during their holidays and be under no obligation to work during term times when they might be located elsewhere.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.