Can zero hour staff be paid in lieu of untaken holidays? How can we ensure that zero hour staff take their holiday entitlement?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 6 February 2018
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

It is not sufficient to pay staff on zero hour contracts in lieu of their holidays. Payment in lieu of accrued but unused holidays can only be made upon termination of employment. 

The fundamental basis of zero hour contracts is the absence of mutuality of obligation. Therefore, the employer is under no obligation to offer work to the employee/worker and the employee/worker is also under no obligation to accept work offered.

An individual working under a zero hour contract may be:

  • An employee during each assignment; or
  • A worker, either:
    • at all times;
    • between assignments; or
    • only when working on an assignment.

Employees/workers engaged under zero hour contracts are

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 06/02/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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