The Problem With Zero Hour Contracts

There’s a huge problem out in the world of work and its called a zero hour contract, closely followed by minimum hour contracts such as a 4 hour week.

Hi there, I’ve done both.

They both equally suck.

Fair enough at least you’re guaranteed one shift a week with a 4 hour contract but the principle is still the same.

Use and abuse.

When the company is busy they’ll throw all the hours they can at you. They’ll expect you do all of those shifts regardless of your availability, prior commitments, doctors appointments, second jobs etc., you name it they wont care.

In peak times you may find that you’re practically working yourself to death. You may finish work at 5am and be due back in at 4pm. You may not have a regular sleeping pattern, or eat well. You may be so exhausted that your body gives up and starts to throw up continuously. So you call in sick. But the managers cant allow that, they need you to make up the numbers. You’re a number. 1162. They say you have to work, call up again in a couple of hours for an update. But you’ve done 11 shifts in a row and its just not fair. Stand your ground, you’re sick you cant work.

Maybe I got too personal just then. Let me reel it back in.

Onto the zero hour contact. You don’t work you don’t get paid. You can be cancelled, sent home early. Dropped when the business is in down time. So you’ll put in the effort at work to show you’re a credit to the team, your valuable. They’ll rely on you, give you more hours so you don’t go broke. But you’ll be exhausted when the long term member’s of staff put all the work load on you. They expect you to do it all.

There’s no guaranteed holiday with these contracts. The more you work the more you’re entitled to. That is if they let you have it, because again, you’re not contracted to work, you want a week off they could just not rota you in for any days. Saves them money.

No sick pay with these either. If there’s a big issue and you need significant time off, you’re screwed.

Use you when they need you, abuse you when they don’t. They’ll call you up on your days off begging you to come in and work. Or get you in earlier for the shifts you are on.

There’s a high staff turn over so there’s always new people around. Some of them will leave before their probation period. They’re the smart ones. Get out while you can.

This is minimum wage. Based on your age. That’s government guideline. We’re all doing the same job so we should all get paid the same wage.


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