Ending zero hour contracts


Zero hour contracts work well in our organisation, and are particularly popular with the large student population in the city.  However, we sometimes find ourselves in the situation whereby people are on the HR & payroll system but have not worked for months.  We would like to send a letter saying:

I am writing in reference to the continuation of your contract of employment as a casual hours Minster Host.

Despite regular shifts being available, in 2016 your employment record indicates that you have fulfilled a very small number of shifts. Currently, you have not indicated that you would like to sign up for any shifts in the near future.

Based on this, I would like to request the following:

  • If you no longer wish to be employed by the Chapter of York, please provide written notice of the termination of your contract on or before 13th August 2016.
  • If you do wish to be employed by the Chapter of York, please contact me in writing to confirm this on or before 13th August 2016. Following this, a re-induction will be arranged with your line manager and objectives set for the year ahead, in line with current practice.

Should we not hear from you in that time, please consider this letter to be a written statement of notice of our intent to terminate your contract with the Chapter of York on 14th August 2016. We will contact you following this date to arrange an exit interview, and you will no longer be sent details of available shifts.

Could this be construed as unfair dismissal, or is it reasonable to do this so we cut down on admin and have accurate records?

Many thanks


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  • Hi Susan,

    I thought I would add to this and echo what Megan has said. We have two people on a zero hour contract and have it written into their Terms that if we do not use them for a 6 month period, then the contract is considered terminated.

    Should we have a need to use them after the six months from the last date worked, we would just do a new zero hour contract.

    Best Regards,


  • Thank you both, that's helpful.  The document that Sarah suggested recommends what Megan does in practice, so that's the way forward.


  • Hi Susan

    We also use a lot of Bank staff, we have written it into their contracts that if they do not work in a period of 6 months we will terminate the contract, then when we go down that route we can reference that in the termination letter. Maybe a thought if it carries on?

  • Hi Susan

    I just noticed you didn't get any replies to your query sorry about that I must have overlooked  it. So I thought I would share a really useful document which explains all things zero hours although note the section on exclusvitiy clauses is now out of date:


    In terms of your specific query, I worked as a lecturer at both a College and a University on a casual arrangement basis, as I had not undertaken any work for them for the last acadenmic year they basically wrote to me advising I was being removed from their bank staff.  Not sure if this helps but I don't recall them serving any notice but of course this will depend on the wording of the contract and the specifics of the actual employment relationship.  As you know some individuals on zero hours contracts can be employees in which case notice would be required. If I am honest I would not 'assume' that they intend to terminate their contract I would be minded to have certainty one way or the other.

    I hope this helps

    All the best


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