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Zero Hour Contract


1. Zero-hour contract, something for my company?

Do you want to have staff, but can't guarantee sufficient work? Then the zero-hour contract is an option. The biggest plus of a zero-hour contract is that staff costs remain low.

If there is no work, you don't have to deploy the employees and, in most cases, you don't have to pay. If, on the other hand, there is a lot of work, you let all employees come and pay them for the hours worked.

2. Zero hour contract, what are the advantages and disadvantages?


- The personnel costs are low.
- In principle, you only pay for hours worked.
- Employees called are obliged to come and work.


- After six months you always have to pay a fixed number of hours.
- Risk of a permanent employment contract arising.
- Payment of wages in the event of illness (after 6 months).

3. Zero-hour contract, what are the requirements?

The biggest difference with other flexible employment contracts, such as the temporary employment contract, is that with a zero-hour contract you do conclude a contract with the employee. You can call and deploy the employee when it suits you, but you're obliged to pay him a minimum of three hours per call. If you schedule the employee for a shorter period, you still have to pay three hours.

4. What obligations does the employee have?

Employees with a zero-hour contract are obliged to come and work if you call them up. Conversely, as an employer, you are also obliged to summon the employee if there is work. You can't then simply deploy a temporary worker .

5. Do I pay wages for the not working hours?

Basically, with a zero-hour contract you don't have to pay wages for hours not worked. An exception to this is that you must pay wages if the on-call worker can't come to work for reasons beyond his control. This is the case, for example, if you hire a temporary worker, while the on-call worker could also easily have performed this work.

6. Do I have to continue paying wages in the event of illness?

Yes, because even with a zero-hour contract there is an employment contract. The employee therefore has social rights and may report sick on a day that he is scheduled.

During his illness you must pay him at least 70 percent of his wages, whereby you may never fall below the minimum wage. Sick days that fall outside the calling period, ie the days on which the employee isn't scheduled, don't have to be paid.


In a zero-hour contract you can exclude the continued payment obligation in writing for the first six months of employment. Your employee must agree with that.

Check your collective agreement . Different rules may apply per sector for continued wage payment in the event of illness.

7. What about vacation hours & allowance?

Just like normal employees, on-call workers are entitled to four times the number of agreed working hours per week in paid vacation hours . So if an on-call worker works an average of 10 hours a week, he is entitled to 40 hours of vacation per year.

In addition, it's possible to keep track of how many hours a week has been worked each month, after which you put the accumulated vacation hours on the payslip .

The holiday allowance consists of 8 percent of the gross salary. This is no different than for normal employees, with the difference that the holiday allowance for on-call workers is often paid monthly instead of in the month of May.

8. Is there a start date in the zero-hour contract?

No, the zero-hour contract starts from the moment the signatures are placed under the agreement. Unlike other contracts, there is no start date or first business day in the agreement. You don't know exactly when you're calling the employee for the first time.

9. Cancel a zero-hour contract?

In most cases it's n't possible to terminate a zero-hour contract by no longer calling the employee. If you have entered into a fixed-term contract, the contract ends on that specific end date. With a contract for an indefinite period of time you must cancel the agreement according to the rules of the dismissal law .

10. When is there an employment contract?

If an on-call worker works every week for three months or at least 20 hours a month, then the law 'suspects' that there is an employment contract .

Based on this, an on-call worker can enforce a fixed employment contract with a fixed number of hours at the court. This concerns the average number of hours per month in the three preceding months. As an employer you sometimes get away with this if you can prove that it was a temporary peak in work.

After six months you have to pay the on-call worker the number of hours to which he is entitled on the basis of the employment contract that has since come into existence with a minimum number of hours. This concerns the average number of hours per month in the three preceding months.


Also check the collective labor agreement for your sector. This may contain other rules about on-call contracts. It is, for example, possible to deviate from the aforementioned period of six months.

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