We thought it would be good to really simply break down the different kinds of UK Employment Status and Zero-hours that people have and how something called a ‘Zero-Hours Contract’ fits into this world of work in the UK.
When people go to work, they have a contract with the people they work for and this can sometimes help determine their employment status, however, it is not just the contract that determines this but also what happens in reality. A contract tells them what work they’ll do when they’ll do it, and what they’ll get (like money) in return, and employment status will define what rights they have.
Under UK employment law there are only three types of employment status, despite the internal name you may give to people eg: Contractor, temps, zero hour, Guild workers, subbies, Sub Contractor etc and these are;
Almost everyone who works will fall into one of these three employment statuses. Let’s break them down into simpler definitions.
Employees are like players in a football team. They have a coach (the boss) who tells them how to play (work), and they have to show up for all the matches (workdays). They know they’ll play a certain number of matches (hours) and get treats (salary) in return!
Imagine being an artist 🎨. You make paintings and sell them to many people. You’re your own boss! Self-employed folks choose what they do, when they do it, and who they do it for, just like artists selling their paintings.
Workers are a bit of both. Imagine a substitute player in a football team who only plays sometimes. They agree to play some matches, but not all, and the coach doesn’t control their every move.
Zooming into Zero-Hours Contract 🕵️♀️📜
Now, what’s a zero-hours contract? It’s like being a backup player without knowing how many matches you’ll play. But when the coach (employer) calls, you can choose to play (work) or not! You might be an employee or a worker if you have a zero-hours contract, but usually not self-employed.
Let’s look at some clues that tell us which type of UK Employment Status and Zero-hours status someone might have:
Personal Service: This means the person has to do the work themselves, just like a main player has to play the match and can’t send a friend instead.
Mutuality of Obligation: This fancy phrase means both the player (employee/worker) and the coach (employer) have promises to keep. The player agrees to play some matches, and the coach agrees to let them play and give treats (pay).
Control: This is about who gets to decide how things are done. A coach (employer) telling a player (employee) exactly how to play would mean there’s control.
For Employers: Remember, knowing if your team members are employees, workers, or self-employed is super crucial to understanding your obligations as an employer.
It may also be worth checking this link online from HMRC https://www.gov.uk/employment-status/selfemployed-contractor.
Next time when HR talks about UK Employment Status and Zero-hours, you can surprise them with your knowledge about employment status and contracts and if you would just rather have the assurance of knowing how to define your staff on an on-going basis have a look at our Monthly Plans here https://www.tribalhr.co.uk/manage-your-tribe/.
If you would like a breakdown of the statutory rights of each of these types of employment status please drop us a message at email@example.com