The 0-hour contract is an employment contract that does not include working hours. You can call up an employee with a zero-hours contract whenever it suits you. You only pay him/her for the hours worked. This gives you a lot of flexibility, especially if you have a lot of changes, like in the hospitality industry or retail. Be careful, though, because, after a year, a permanent employment contract does come into effect. There are more advantages and disadvantages to a zero-hours contract. In this blog, we have listed them all for you. We also tell you what you should pay extra attention to.
The 0-hour contract is useful for employers who want to call up certain employees flexibly. Simply to cope with peak workloads. A zero-hours contract is based on the principle: no work – no pay. You call up your employee when you think it is necessary. This way you keep the labour costs better under control and you match the amount of labour exactly to the work supply. Super convenient!
Pay attention to the following issues with 0-hour contracts:
1. Drawing up a 0-hour contract
You are obliged to lay down the 0-hour agreement in a contract.
2. The right to 0-hour work lapses after one year
After one year the employee is automatically entitled to a fixed number of working hours, namely the average number of hours over the last 12 months. Incidentally, your employee may refuse this offer and continue to work on an on-call basis if he so wishes.
3. 0-hour contract sometimes becomes a permanent contract
Please note that if your employee has worked every week – or at least 20 hours per month – for three months, this may be regarded as a permanent contract. The person may then enforce a permanent contract with a fixed number of hours in court. So for the average number of hours per month in the three preceding months.
4. Termination of 0-hour contract
Have you agreed on a temporary 0-hour contract? Then it simply ends on the agreed end date. Does your employee have a permanent contract? Then you have to terminate the contract according to the rules of dismissal law. You do not terminate a 0-hour contract by not calling up your employee anymore.
5. Pay a minimum of 3 hours’ pay
Your employee with a 0-hour contract has the right to at least 3 hours of pay for each call. Therefore, you cannot have an employee with a 0-hour contract come in and be paid for 1 hour.
6. Call-up period of 4 days
The call-up period for employees with a 0-hour contract is four days. If you cancel your employee less than 4 days before the scheduled work, he/she has the right to be paid for the hours for which you had scheduled him/her. Note: some sector CLAs make an exception to this. For example, in the hospitality industry: here you may shorten the term to 24 hours.
7. Notice period is also 4 days
The term of notice for an employee with a zero-hours contract is from 1 January 2020 onwards the same as the term of notice for being on-call, namely 4 days. If the CAO states a shorter call-up period, this will apply as the notice period. You may only terminate a 0-hour contract prematurely if you have included this in the employment contract.
8. Obligation to be called up in case of suitable work
As an employer, you are obliged to call up an employee with a 0-hour contract if you have work for which the person is suitable. You may not, for example, use a temporary employee.
9. Paying employers’ contributions
As an employer, you are obliged to pay employers’ contributions over the hours worked. This way, an employee with a 0-hour contract also has social protection.
10. Continued payment during illness in the case of a 0-hour contract
The 0-hour contract is an employment contract and therefore your employee may call in sick on one of the days he is scheduled to work. You then pay him at least 70 percent of his wages, but not less than the statutory minimum wage. You do not have to pay out sick days on days on which your employee is not scheduled.
11. Holiday allowance
Your employees with a 0-hour contract are also entitled to holiday allowance. Namely four times the number of working hours agreed upon per week. You can also keep a monthly record of the number of hours worked per week and then state the accrued holiday hours on the payslip.
12. Other contracts for on-call workers
There are two more contracts you can use for on-call workers. On the one hand, this is a call contract with a preliminary agreement where the employee decides whether he/she will work or not. On the other hand, this is the min-max contract that is for a definite or indefinite period of time for a minimum number of hours per week, month or year. These are guaranteed hours that you always have to pay, even if you do not call the employee.
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