A new survey from Acas has found that 3 in 5 workers (61%) are unaware of the rights of people on zero-hours contracts.
Acas commissioned YouGov to ask workers at the end of August on how aware, if at all, they were of the rights of a worker employed on a zero-hours contract.
A zero-hours contract is usually where an employer does not have to give any minimum working hours and a worker does not have to take any work offered. The employment status of a zero-hours worker can vary depending on the exact nature of the working arrangement.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:
"Our poll reveals that most workers are unaware of workplace rights under zero-hours contracts. They may seem complex but there are key rights that apply to everyone under these arrangements.
"Acas has advice in this area and a new law next year aims to give zero-hours contracts workers the right to request more predictability around their working pattern.
"We are currently consulting on a new Code of Practice to help businesses and workers understand the new law and provide good practice around requests for a predictable working pattern.
Acas advice is that someone on a zero-hours contract could be legally classed as an employee or a worker and their employment status will determine their legal rights.
The following rights will always apply to anyone on a zero-hours contract:
- National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
- paid holiday
- rest breaks
- protection from discrimination
- receiving payslips
Employers must grant all relevant statutory employment rights to people who work under these arrangements.
Acas is currently consulting on its new draft statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern. It aims to ensure that requests are handled in a reasonable manner so that a worker’s request is fully understood and considered.
The consultation closes on 17 January 2024. You can read and respond to the Acas consultation on the draft Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern.
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act is expected to come into force in Autumn 2024.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 to 23 August 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
Participants were asked: 'By 'zero-hours contract', we mean an employment contract where an employer does not have to give any minimum working hours and a worker does not have to take any work offered. How aware, if at all, are you of the rights a worker employed on a zero-hours contract has?'
The results were:
- Very aware: 11%
- Fairly aware: 29%
- Not very aware: 41%
- Not at all aware: 20%
- Net aware: 40%
- Net not aware: 61%
(All percentage figures are rounded up)