Approaching Zero Hours Employees to become Part Time

Approaching Zero Hours Employees to become Part Time

July 27, 2022

Since the Supreme Court gave the final judgement in the case of Brazel v Harpur Trust last Wednesday, many small businesses have been wondering how to approach their zero hours employees to become part time employees.

The issue with many zero hours contracts is that they aim to be an ‘overarching employment relationship’, one where the employer is under no obligation to offer hours, but those hours offered, the employee is obliged to work. From when the contract starts, to when it ends.

Indeed in Early Years and Childcare this is a key aspect of the relationship. There has been one set of Safer Recruitment, one occasion where pre-employment checks were undertaken such as DBS or PVG. One time that the previous employers were approached for references. No-one wants the cost of repeating that everytime a casual comes in. Unless there is no better alternative.

For many Zero Hours contracts the work was so irregular that it made sense to use the 12.07% of hours worked formula when calculating holiday. Remember this was once encouraged by ACAS guidance. But those days are gone. Confined to history.

For other Zero Hours contracts the work was offered more regularly, and it is for those employees for whom we advise you now consider inviting them to convert their contracts from zero hours to part time.

Here’s why:

  1. Part Time employment contracts will give the employee contracted hours each week, and if annualised, each year.
  2. They would receive 5.6 weeks annual leave based upon their contracted hours.
  3. They would have the predictability of knowing what hours they were contracted to work, and the employer has the expectation (quite reasonably) that they will be available to work those hours.
  4. One set of pre-employment and Safer Recruitment.
  5. Consistency and improved quality of customer service.

So how can an employer approach an employee on a Zero Hours contract to convert to a Part Time contract.

  1. Decide how many hours you can afford to contract the employee to work each week, or each year as an annualised contract.
  2. Sit down with the employee affected and explain your proposal and why you feel they would benefit.
  3. Listen to their view on your proposal and seek their point of view if they do not wish to convert. It’s always important to try and understand where someone else is coming from.
  4. If they really don’t want to convert, is it the proposed hours, the timeframe, the role that is the issue? Can you discuss it, or agree to reconvene to discuss at a later date?
  5. If they are happy with your proposal reissue a Written Statement of Terms and Conditions with the issue date that the new contract is effective from and their original start date so long as no break of service is applicable.

If you need any assistance with any aspect of managing employees and their contracts of employment please contact us on 01527 909436.

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