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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50751
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am employed under a zero hour contract. They state that

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For Ben Jones. I am employed under a zero hour contract. They state that you must work a 2 week notice. They sent a slip of paper in the post to all employees stating that they would fine you £10 per visit (I work in health care) if you cancelled any work. I argued this and the Director admitted it was just a deterrent and knew it was unlawful. On the same slip of paper it stated if you do not work your notice they will fine you. Is this legal? Can they fine me if I resign with immediate effect. If they can and instead I am resigning but I am unable to work during the 2 weeks as I have no obligation to work hours allocated to me, could they fine me for that?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
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Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

One of the cornerstones of zero hours contracts is that there is no mutuality of obligation, which means that the employer is not obliged to offer you any work and if offered, you are not obliged to accept it.

If a contract attempts to ‘punish’ you for not accepting work, then that does not mean it is illegal, rather it would suggest that you may not be a zero hours worker after all, but more of an employee. The employer cannot have it both ways - they wither have to accept that you are a genuine zero hours worker and have no obligation to accept any work, or treat you like an employee and seek to penalise you for breach of contract if you do not accept any work offered to you. However, if you are an employee you will get more rights against them and it would not be in their interest to treat you as zero hours rather than an employee.

I suspect these clauses are indeed deterrents to try and prevent people fro leaving like this or not accepting work, but if they do, then in reality the employer may not be able to do much, especially if that gives rise to the argument you are not a zero hours worker. So give them that argument and hopefully that will prompt them to reconsider their position and the possibility of trying to fine you.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks Ben. So basically they have to choose whether I am a Zero hour worker or an employee. If I am a zero hour worker, they cannot fine me but if I am an employee they can? Since this clause is not included in my actual contract, does this also weaken their ability to fine me?

yes your understanding is correct and even as an employee they still need to justify why they are fining you - so they must be able to show some losses have been incurred to prompt that. If this is not in the contract they cannot realistically deduct it from your pay without it amounting to unlawful deduction of wages. So they would have to take you to court for it, which is very unlikely

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Great, thanks for your help.

You are most welcome