Zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts do not guarantee you any work. Sometimes, they can be useful. You have the freedom to work flexibly, without fixed hours. But your income may change from week to week. This can make it hard to plan and more difficult to claim Housing Benefit.

Your employer will ask you what hours you can work. You will probably get 1 week’s notice or less.

Your employer may not pay you when you are on breaks.

You do not have to accept the work, but you must do it if you say you will.

You can have zero-hours contracts with different employers at the same time.

Zero-hours contracts (ACAS)

Your benefits and zero-hours contracts

The number of hours you work affects if you can claim:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit

How work can affect your benefits

Your employment rights on a zero-hours contract

Usually, if you are on a zero-hours contract, you are a ‘worker’ rather than an employee. As a worker, you get employment rights such as reasonable adjustments, National Minimum Wage and paid holiday. But you may not have others, like notice periods.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 12/02/2024

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