From zero to hero – the reality of zero hours contracts
There has been so much in the media about these contracts. Are you one of those evil employers that the media have been bashing throughout the summer? Are you using zero hours contracts to exploit workers? To keep them sitting by the phone in the hope you will chuck them some scraps?
Of course you’re not. Most golf clubs we deal with are using zero hours contracts effectively and fairly and have found it allows them to respond to the fickle nature of the British weather and the British golfer. However, if you have caught but a glimpse of the media over the ‘silly season’ you might be wondering why you are being treated like you’re sending children up chimneys.
Amid the media frenzy there hasn’t been any objective explanation of zero hours contracts so I suspect some clarification is required. Essentially a zero hour contract is simply a contract of employment much like any other. It provides a written account of the terms and conditions of employment and makes provisions for an on call arrangement between the employer and employee.
There is no obligation for the employer to offer work and nor is the employee required to accept work offered; they do however agree to be ‘available for work as and when required’ and will be paid only for the hours they do work.
Naturally a difficult economy where the workforce is underemployed and there is an uncertainty about the future has led to these contracts flourishing as it minimises the risk of taking on new staff to meet demand as and when required.
For golf clubs this translates into the perfect way to meet the demands of the summer versus the relatively lower employment demands of the winter and all the months in-between.
At Chesham and Ley Hill Golf Club zero hours are used in this way, as General Manager of the Buckinghamshire club, James Short explains: “All our bar staff are on zero hours; in order to meet the varying needs of different shifts we need that flexibility, and none of the staff have a problem with that. Most are working 40 hours on their zero hours contracts.
“Without zero hours it would be impossible to effectively allocate staff during the summer or during the winter. It allows us to adapt to seasonal demands and is important to a golf club like ours.”
Read more tomorrow…