the zero hour contract (Zero-hour contract) is a type of employment contract. It developed into theEuropean Unionas at UK and in France (vacation contract at the university or “task” contract for correctors at home, in publishing for example). Its main characteristic is that the employer does not mention in the contract any indication of hours or minimum working hours.. The employee is paid only for the hours worked, and must be able to make himself available at any time of the day.
In 2015in the United Kingdom, there are around 1.5 million contracts with a few hours per month and 1.3 million more without any hours worked. More than one in ten employers use it in the country.
Since 2008 and the worsening of the economic situation, the phenomenon has taken on a considerable scale .
Many large companies use them in the country, for example McDonald’s (90% of its 83,000 UK jobs), Subway, Burger King, Dominos Pizza (90% of its 23,000 jobs), Sports Direct (90% of its contracts, i.e. 20,000 people) or Tesco.
Local authorities also use these contracts, in particular for public reception or assistance to the elderly.
Zero-hour contracts affect all types of jobs, including the most skilled. The health sector, for example, has more than 160,000: hospitals have created “banks” of workers (anaesthesiologists, radiologists, etc.) who work in rotation in different establishments.
It sometimes happens that the contracts are quickly terminated prematurely, being signed by the company only with a view to collecting the government bonus of 1,500 pounds paid for hiring long-term unemployed.
Designed to promote labor market flexibility, the zero-hour contract provides that the employee makes himself available at any time of the day. For his part, the employer is not required to guarantee a minimum working time.
In this type of employment contract, the economic balance of power seems to benefit the employer, since it combines all the constraints and requirements linked to the principle of subordination which characterizes the employment contract for the employee, and the advantages of the status of de facto service provider for the employer. It does not oblige him to fix a minimum working time and a minimum wage. The employee must agree to be available to work according to the needs of his employer. He is often only informed of the work he has to do a few hours before taking up duty. He could theoretically refuse the proposed working hours. Only hours worked are paid.
Since the number of paid hours is very variable, workers cannot plan an accurate monthly budget or organize their schedule .
- Annex IV, publishing collective agreement, (read online)
- (in) ” Analysis of Employee Contracts that do not Guarantee a Minimum Number of Hours »on Office for National Statistics, (consulted the )
- (in) Phillip Inman and Angela Monaghan, ” Number of zero-hours contracts reaches 1.4m », The Guardian, (read online)
- ” In the UK, the “zero hours contract” does not make everyone happy »on The world,
- Philip Bernard, In the UK, the damned of “zero hour contracts” », The world, (read online)
- (in) Simon Neville, ” Burger King and Domino’s Pizza also using zero-hours contracts », The Guardian, (read online)
- (in) Simon Nelville, ” Pressure mounts on Sports Direct over zero-hours contracts », The Guardian, (read online)
- (in) Grace Macaskill, ” Argos, Homebase and Tesco exploit workers with contracts guaranteeing around THREE HOURS a week », Mirror, (read online)
- Sarah Butler and Damien Gayle, ” Ritzy cinema living wage strike disrupts BFI London film festival »,
- (in) “Zero-hour contracts banned in New Zealand”, The GuardianMarch 11, 2016
- (in) ” What are zero-hours contracts? », BBC, (read online)
- source Reuters, ” Employment: 1 million Britons under “zero hour” contracts, considered precarious », The echoes, (read online)
- ” http://www.france24.com/fr/20150427-contrat-zero-heure-london-mcdo-chomeurs-precaires-elections-britanniques-cote-obscur-royaume-uni-serie-reportage »