Take this from the Guardian, for example.
Sports Direct: 90% of staff on zero-hour contracts
Retail chain's 20,000 part-time workforce do not know how many hours they will work each week and have no holiday or sick payThis is quite wrong, as the statist rag should know very well since they would have been 100% in support of current statutory entitlements which apply. Do you think they might have just forgotten on purpose?
You see, under the European Working Time Directive (the part we didn't opt out of), employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks' paid holiday if full time, which is to be paid pro rata if on any other casual or part-time basis. It works out at around 1 day for every 9 worked, or 12.07%.
This applies just as much to zero hours contract staff as it does to anyone else. In fact, there is even a calculator for it at the government's new all-singing, all-dancing website.
It is also not true that statutory sick pay is not applicable to zero hours contracts. It certainly is, as this advice booklet by HMRC states quite clearly [pdf page 37].
A casual employee is usually someone who works for an employer, as and when they are required on a series of short contracts of employment with that person. Such casual workers may also be called short contract employees. If you have to deduct PAYE tax and Class 1 NICs from the worker’s earnings, then you will have to pay them SSP if they satisfy all the qualifying conditions.Now, there are many ways in which a worker may not satisfy these conditions, but one of them is not simply that they are on a zero hours contract.
If the Guardian is saying that Sports Direct are not observing statutory holiday pay and SSP entitlements, the story should have been that Sports Direct should be challenged on it. The Guardian, for example, could have pointed concerned employees in the direction of Citizens Advice and their free counselling. Instead, they have presumably opted to cleverly insinuate that zero hours contracts are designed to bypass holiday and sick entitlements ... even though they don't.
Just yer regular, common-or-garden, anti-business Guardian fairy tale, then.
If pulled up on their wording, the Graun would most likely say that they didn't specifically state that zero hours contracts dodge statutory entitlements, but they know full well that their not very bright followers would take it that way.
And, as if to comprehensively prove this theory, while the Guardian didn't technically lie, 38 Degrees did when sending out a rabble-rousing e-mail this evening.
They call themselves a model employer, but today it’s been revealed that 90% of Sports Direct staff are on zero hours contracts. This means employees are stripped of rights like holiday pay and sick pay.Not us, Guv, says the Graun.
I could tell you why zero hours contracts are vital to businesses (definitely including mine) and a net gain to employees and the country, but that'll be for another day once this naive crusade gains more momentum.