The number of people on zero-hours contracts has exploded in the last decade. This means that a growing number of working people don’t have a guaranteed minimum number of working hours.
Zero-hours workers are some of the most insecure and vulnerable people in the workforce. But even if you’re on a zero-hours contract, you still have statutory rights, including the national minimum wage, paid holiday, and the right to take rest breaks.
But some of the rights available to workers – like the right to statutory maternity pay or sick pay – depend on you earning more than £112 per week from one employer. That can be hard to meet for zero-hours workers.
And a lot of the time, the problems zero-hours workers face are practical, not legal. You might be afraid, for example, that your employer will slash your hours if you complain about how you’re treated.
If you feel insecure at work, it’s a good idea to join a union. The best way to deal with bad treatment at work is often to work together with other workers to get a better deal.
Unions know that it’s a nightmare trying to pay the bills, arrange childcare or manage your money if you don’t know how much work you’ll have from one day to the next.
If you’re being treated badly at work, your union will be able to help.