Zero hours contracts

Zero hour 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) and you may not get paid breaks. You do not have to accept the work, but you must do it if you say you will.

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

Watch video on YouTube – Zero hour contracts explained (ACAS)

Your benefits and zero hour 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)

How work can affect your benefits

Your employment rights on a zero hour contract

Usually, if you are on a zero hour 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.

Employment information supported by Virgin Media.

We're working with Virgin Media to support 1 million disabled people in getting into and staying in work by the end of 2020.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 21/05/2018

Was this page helpful?

We're sorry to hear that.

Tell us how we can improve it

Need more help?

Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window