Category Archives: flexible working

Which Are The Right Contract Options?

See on Scoop.itEmployment law in a mad world

Which Are The Right Contract Options? – Facilitated by Annabel Kaye, Director of Irenicon Ltd, Annabel keeps it clear, demystifies the jargon and keeps the focus on getting the best business res…

Annabel Kaye‘s insight:

Should be using zero hours contracts, freelancers, part timers, What kind of contract works best for you?  Join our free conversation (by phone) on 23 January 2pm (UK time) register for dial in details.

See on

Leave a comment

Filed under contract, Freelance Workers, zero hours

Dickensian: Zero-hours contracts

See on Scoop.itEmployment law in a mad world

I’ve just had two astonishing conversations with two young people. This wasn’t related to wild nights out or any inappropriate behaviour, but their employment conditions. Both are working on zero-h…

Annabel Kaye‘s insight:

There are consequences to zero hours contracts – do you use them?  Are you on one or using them?

See on

Leave a comment

Filed under zero hours

Zero hours employment contracts – Consultations – GOV.UK

See on Scoop.itEmployment law in a mad world

The government is consulting on the problems identified around the use of zero hours contracts.

Annabel Kaye‘s insight:

If you feel strongly about zero hours contracts then read the consultation document and make your views heard – it closes in March but don’t forget..

See on


Filed under zero hours

Is your zero hours contract really a zero thought contract?

Vote in our poll – do you use zero hours’ contracts?

Today’s myth buster is around the idea that people on zero hours contracts have no rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  1. Zero hours contracts mean no commitment.  Employment tribunals look at the real relationship and arrangements – not just the paperwork. If you regularly book someone you may find your contract is no longer zero hours. The employment appeal tribunal have already ruled on this (Pulse v Carwatch)
  2. No holiday pay? Despite the headline news you don’t have to be an employee to qualify for holiday pay – even self employed workers qualify for holiday pay if they are obliged to do the work in person. The employment appeal tribunal have already ruled on this (Lyons v Mitie Security Ltd)
  3. Zero holiday pay? You don’t calculate zero hours workers’ holiday on the basis of nil hours per week, but on by averaging the previous 12 worked week’s pay.
  4. Zero rights? All workers in the UK have some rights including equality/discrimination and health and safety rights. The number of hours you work doesn’t change that.

If we could abolish all of employment law today there would still be real reasons for employers to consider whether zero hours contracts are appropriate to the organisation.

  1. Continuous service provision is hard to handle against random and casual workers if they are the core of your workforce – they can all say no to working today!
  2. Workers who have no normal hours can’t save or spend much and this is bad for the economy in general (they can’t get credit!)
  3. Annual hours contracts are more appropriate if you need flexibility
  4. Term time only contracts can work where parents can take the school holidays off

For the growing small business there is a place for zero hours contracts – as a temporary way of employing people where you don’t know what the work is needed. For a large business this is a temporary a way of handling rapid expansion.

But to ask people to be available to you as and when, without paying them, and expecting them to provide great service to your customers is not going to work for a number of businesses – regardless of the law.

Many bosses will find themselves on the wrong end of holiday pay claims, and unfair dismissal claims that the zero hours contracts won’t avoid. Unless you really know what you are doing zero hours is a trap!

Deciding on the appropriate contractual framework for employing people in a growing business is a skill. Get it right and you have got your costings right and all the flexibility you need. Get it wrong and you end up owing things like holiday pay you didn’t budget for – and you can have a less committed workforce than the one you want.

We speak to businesses about how to decide on the appropriate structures to get what you want (and we write great contracts too).  Talk to us call 08452 303050 (local rate calls) or use our contact form..

Related articles:

1m workers on zero hours contracts

Cable to investigate?

One way street?



Filed under contract, employment law, flexible working, zero hours

If hurricane Sandy came to your business?

We are always more vulnerable to the unexpected than we think. Not so long ago Croydon businesses (and others in the UK) were struggling with the after effects of riot and fire. Since then flood and landslide have upset a lot of UK businesses as we lurched from hosepipe ban and drought, to floods.
Many businesses had real trouble getting paid by their insurers after disaster struck – some of which was because they kept all their receipts and books in the premises that suffered the disaster! (Note to self — off site backups and storage are not optional.) Others simply didn’t have the kind of insurance cover they thought they had.

Hurricanes are not common in the UK, though we had the rare experience of trading through the 1987 hurricane which was centred at the top of the hill we lived on. Two weeks of power outages and phone outages taught us a lot about contingency planning, and we managed to muddle through somehow. Statistically it ought to be 100 years till the UK gets another hurricane that strong, but there is always something unexpected round the corner for business owners.

What are you staff plans for when disaster strikes? If we get snowed in, or floods take over the area, or transport strikes hit? What would happen if neither you nor your staff could reach your premises (or open them) for a fortnight? It’s a chilling thought for most of us, isn’t it?

The planning for the 2012 Olympics taught many companies that they could have people work from home, or change core hours, and still provide a service. It won’t carry you through if the whole country is off line (like the Eastern seaboard of the USA) but having a plan for what you are going to do about/with/for staff is a good place to begin.

Ask yourself:

1) Who could work from home? What equipment and arrangements would they need? Do we have them in place, or how quickly could we get them in place? Have we done a trial run?

2) What are we going to do if we can’t open our main place of business? Will staff still need to be paid if we don’t open? Do we have a plan to open somewhere else? Do our contracts allow us to designate holiday, lay offs? What are we entitled to do?

3) What if all or some of the staff can’t turn up? What if some do turn up, but very late after long and difficult journeys. Who gets paid? Who doesn’t? Can we set expectations?

4) What about parents whose children cannot go to school? Are they clear about dependants’ leave? Are you?

5) What if your business premises are not fit for use for an extended period of time? Do you have a plan to trade from somewhere else? Do you have insurance that covers you just for the cost of repairing your premises? Or do you have insurance that covers you for loss of revenue too? Check your policy — you may not have what you hope for.

6) If you have legal expenses insurers, do you have to check with them first before you can lay off staff or send them home? You may find you are not insured if you don’t get their sign-off. What happens if your insurers are not available? It’s time to check out the small print.

7) What are you going to do about health and safety? There comes a point when it is not safe to encourage people to travel to work/stay at work, etc. How are you going to judge when it is time to say enough is enough?

Many small businesses never recover from the financial losses of a disaster. Many big businesses only cope by calling on the resources of other divisions or companies within the group. Whilst disasters can be times of great camaraderie and heroism, they can also be times when businesses and jobs are swept away, never to return.

Our hearts go out to the people affected by the hurricane on the East coast of the USA. But it’s also a warning to us to be ready for the unexpected.

If you want more information on who is entitled to be paid when disaster strikes, click here

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd a specialist employment law consultancy

Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060
You can follow Annabel on Twitter

1 Comment

Filed under contract, employment law, flexible working, pay

A stitch in time for the Olympics .

If you are preparing for the effect of the Olympics at work, it is easy to focus on homeworking and travel arrangements.  But what about the people who are working?

Some will really want to see some special events on TV.  And some will need to work longer hours to cover colleagues who have needed to change their arrangements.

Taking a few moments to make things clear will save  arguments later.

TV at work

  • Are you going to provide TV viewing in the workplace?
  • If so, make sure you have a TV licence
  • Who’s in charge of channel choices?
    • Don’t let dominant individuals bully their colleagues

Talking about the games/events

Not everyone will be supporting Team GB.  If your staff support other teams, they are entitled to do so and everyone should know that.  Don’t let sporting enthusiasm turn into racist or sexist abuse.  Your Equality and Harassment policy applies as much to discussions at work about the ladies basketball or the male gymnasts as it does to any other subject.

Time off during the day to watch events

Are staff breaks going to be reorganised so they can watch specific events?  If they have longer breaks than usual, is there going to be a record of time owed to be worked later, or are you just writing it off?   Who is going to keep the record, and how?   What if there are disputes?    If there are going to be extra hours working to compensate for longer breaks, how is this going to be organised?

Longer hours working

For some people the games are going to mean longer hours at work, either to cover colleagues, or because extra traffic means work takes longer (delivery drivers would be just one example, but anyone who travels – particularly in Greater London – is likely to be inconvenienced).   Are you going to pay them overtime?  If so, at what rate?  Or are you ‘banking’ the extra time so they can work shorter hours later?  Or are you going to rely on the “additional hours as necessary to fulfil the requirements of the job” clause in your contract (assuming you have that).  Who is recording the time and how?   Workers who are not ‘opted out’ for Working Time Regulations can work up to an average of 48 hours a week.  This means they can exceed 48 hours in any given week provided they still get their statutory breaks, and that their longer hours are not dangerous.

. . . saves nine.

Whatever you plan to do, it is definitely worth having a plan.  Even if you have to adjust your ideas when we see what is actually happening to transport and so on, you’ll be much happier if you have contingency plans in place, and your workers will be happier if they know in advance what to expect at work – even if we’re all not quite sure what to expect on the roads!

Check out our homeworking application and agreement – it is suitable for Olympic homeworking and is easily adaptable to your situation.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.
Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website:

Leave a comment

Filed under contract, employment law, flexible working

Time to get people to help in your business?

FreelanceWhen you start your business there is just you and your idea.

Before you know it you need people to help you.  Whether it is your family volunteering to help out, interns, apprentices, volunteers, freelancer or staff, your business success depends as much on how you manage these relationships as it is by your customer and service focus.

Don’t be fooled into thinking only employees have rights at work and you can just abolish all your troubles if you call everyone an intern or a freelancer.

Suppose you employed 9 people on a freelance basis for five years?  Only paid them when you wanted them, no holiday worries, no employment law?

Suppose one took you to tribunal and claimed they were really your employee (and claimed unfair dismissal when you stopped using them).

Suppose they won (tribunals look beyond the label into the real relationship).

Then HMRC wanted the  PAYE on all these ‘freelancers’ (going back a few years).

Could you find the money to sort it all out?  This time they wanted £12,500.

It happens, this is real.

Don’t be scared.  Don’t ignore it.  Handle it.

The best way to handle this in advance.

If you need advice and guidance on employing freelance workers check our Freelance Framework Agreement.

For a free MP3 of Annabels entertaining talk on this subject click

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.
Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website:
You can follow Annabel on Twitter


Filed under agency workers, contract, employment law, employment tribunal, free stuff, young workers