Casual Workers

What are the key clauses in a zero hour contract?

Adam ElkholyAdam Elkholy
Last updated on:
July 28, 2022
Published on:
July 28, 2022

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A zero hour contract, also known as a casual worker contract, allows a company to hire employees on a need to basis. Zero hour contracts are not normally used for the core operations of the business, instead they are used when there is an irregular demand for work such as seasonal work. Additionally, a zero hour contract allows an employee to work around other commitments such as studies or care. Therefore, it is important to have a clear zero hour contract between the employer and the employee to preserve the rights of both parties. This article will look at 4 key clauses to include in a zero hour contract.

1. Offer of work

Under a zero hour contract, the employer engages the employee when there is need for their services. Therefore, a zero hour contract could include an offer of work clause that sets out the procedure by which the employer would offer each engagement to the employee. The clause could also state that the employee is under no obligation to accept the offer. Finally, the clause could include the general nature of the work that the employee would be engaged to do.

2. Accepted engagement

Since the employee has the right to accept or decline the offer of work from the employer, the contract could regulate the employer’s expectations after the employee accepted the engagement. The accepted engagement clause would set out the employer’s expectations such as the performance criteria for the job which the employee is engaged for. It could also specify how partial performance, whether due to the suspension or cancellation of the engagement by either party, is to be treated. Normally, the employee would be paid according to the hours they worked up to the point of suspension or cancellation.

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3. Pay

Another clause that should be included in a zero hour contract is the pay or salary clause. Under a zero hour contract, an employee is entitled to at least the minimum wage for the hours they have worked. Accordingly, the pay clause would include the hourly rate at which the employee would be remunerated. The pay clause would also include the date, frequency and method of payment. Finally, the pay clause would reserve the right to deduct any sums owed by the employee to the company from their wages.

4. Holiday

Finally, as a worker, employees under a zero hour contract are entitled to paid holiday. Holiday entitlement could be prorated based on the number of hours worked and the annual entitlement. Therefore, a holiday clause in a zero hours contract could set out the annual entitlement for the employee and how the prorated entitlement would accrue. Additionally, the clause could set out the process for applying for a holiday and how accrued but untaken holidays would be treated.

In conclusion, a zero hour contract is a special type of employment contract. It does not have all the obligations that a regular contract of employment would have. Consequently, due to the special nature of the contract, it could include special clauses such as accepted engagement and offer of work clauses. It could also include other clauses such as a no presumption of continuity clause. If your business is hiring multiple zero-hour employees on a casual basis, it can be tricky to issue and manage these contracts. Legislate is a contract management platform that offers a lawyer-approved casual-worker agreement which can be tailored to your specific requirements. Legislate streamlines the contracting process so that you can focus on your business, not legal admin. To get started, simply sign up and choose a plan!

About Legislate

Legislate is a contracting platform where business owners can create contracts to help grow and develop their business. Legislate's employment contracts and offer letters are key in protecting your IP and Legislate's NDAs are crucial to ensure you can have conversations and partnerships to help develop your business and brand. Book a demo or sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.


The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or financial advice on which you should rely.

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