Manage workers on flexible hours more efficiently

How to track employees on zero hour contracts

Figures reveal that at November 2016 there were 1.7m zero hour contracts in the UK – that’s over 900,000 people, representing 6% of all employment contracts. A further type of flexible working, zero hour contracts also present yet another challenge to busy managers having to keep track of workers.

A zero hours contract is a contract between an employer and a worker where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered (ACAS). In recent years these contracts have proved popular, for example, in retail, care work and leisure where the volume of work cannot be determined in advance. Although the subject of occasional controversy there is no doubt that zero hours contracts are welcomed by those seeking lower and flexible levels of work commitment e.g. students, parents, carers, etc.

Although a zero hours contract means that staff have ‘worker’ status rather than full ‘employee’ status, zero hour workers still have many of the same employment rights as regular workers. Crucially for managers and supervisors this means that these workers are also still entitled to holiday time off, the National Minimum Wage (for under age 25 or apprentices) and the National Living Wage (aged 25 and over) and to work-relate travel just like regular employees.

Your workforce management systems need to be geared up to:

  • Track the often irregular working patterns of zero hour contract workers
  • Calculate pay correctly, taking into account the variable hours worked, pay rates and holiday time.

It can be stressful and time-consuming working out the hours worked by all the different types of staff employed by your business. However, if you want to operate efficiently it’s important to get these details right for all staff every time. Businesses who use an automated time and attendance system find that it simplifies many of the onerous tasks involved in tracking employees – especially those on zero hour contracts.

A good cloud-based automated time and attendance system:

  • Provides a variety of clocking-in options for workers – handy for tracking staff on variable patterns of working
  • Enables supervisors to monitor who’s on site in real-time – useful for fire roll calls and to alert you to absent or late workers
  • Allows supervisors to verify and authorise online timesheets from anywhere, anytime thanks to the cloud-based software
  • Can calculate accrued annual leave based on hours worked
  • Exports clocking-in and rate of pay information to payroll for accurate wage payments
  • Can be scaled up, or down, as your business evolves and grows – this means that SMEs can take advantage of the same tools and processes as their larger competitors.

While especially efficient at managing staff working flexible hours, cloud-based automated time and attendance systems are an excellent update of outdated systems, such as paper-based timesheets, for tracking and managing all types of staff.

Whatever the merits or de-merits of zero hour contracts, they look set to remain a feature of the UK economy as one type of flexible working on offer. To save on time and management costs – a cloud-based time and attendance system such as uAttend offers the perfect solution.

About the Author

Chronologic - uAttend is part of the Chronologic workforce management portfolio. To find out more about our time and attendance software solutions call 01761 410015 or email