Unlike a traditional contract of employment, a zero-hours contract offers no guarantee of work. Many employers use such contracts to cover situations where work fluctuates, and many individuals also find this to be a suitable working arrangement. However, there has been criticism of their widespread use. Although there is currently no legal definition for a zero-hours contract, employers need to ensure that written contracts contain provisions setting out the status, rights and obligations of their zero-hours staff.

The factsheet examines the business rationale for considering zero-hours contracts in the workplace, and the issues to consider when using zero-hours contracts (such as the employment status of the individual). It also examines legislative changes surrounding zero-hours contracts and puts forward good-practice recommendations for those areas where some employers need to improve their working practices.

CIPD viewpoint

What are zero-hours contracts?

Why use zero-hour contracts?

Employment status

Difficult issues

Recent legislation on zero-hours contracts

What does good practice look like?

Useful contacts and further reading