It’s a tricky situation. You need childcare for your children – but not all the time.
You prefer to have someone come into your home rather than send your children to a childcare centre, an idea is born, perhaps a nanny. This way, you don’t have to waste time taking the children to a centre, the nanny comes to you.
You really would like a nanny, but don’t think you can justify the costs for a full-time nanny.
You read the newspapers, monitor web sites and come up with the answer. The fairly new zero hours contract. This way you only pay when your nanny is actually working in your home. Brilliant… Or perhaps not!
And the same logic could be applied to a housekeeper, carer or any other domestic staff member.
So what does a zero hours contract mean, and can you offer one to the domestic staff you find?
Basically, it is the name given to an arrangement, which may be a contract or an agreement, in which the employer makes it clear that there is no obligation to provide a minimum number of hours of work. Previously it would probably have been called a casual labour agreement. On the other hand, there is no obligation for the individual to accept any of the hours of work offered.
Hmm, so, yes, it works both ways. Ideal perhaps for an individual who doesn’t want to be tied down, but how does that work for you when you want to call them in and they say: ”Sorry I’m busy right now”?
The agreement must also state there is no guaranteed minimum hours of work and that payment is only made for the hours they do work. Therefore you need to keep a very careful log of the hours worked.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Almost too good to be true? In reality, most things that are too good to be true are just that, not true.
In Part Two of this article we spell out some of the other problems you would face by using a zero hours contract and a better way forward altogether.
Part Two will appear shortly.