Publication date: 12 June 2019
There are three types of on-call contracts, zero-hours contracts, min.-max. contracts, and pre-agreements. A zero-hours contract is an employment contract and therefore there are obligations for both employers and employees. Employers must, for instance, call upon employees when there is work and workers are in principle required to perform work when called upon.
Many enterprises work with on-call employees. It is advantageous for employers because they can adapt their business operations to the developments in the market. But there are also benefits for on-call employees: they are free to work more or fewer hours and it can also be a step towards a permanent contract. What kind of contracts are there for on-call employees? What are the rights of on-call employees and which obligations do employers have to meet?
The following rules do apply to on-call contracts:
Besides, specific rules do apply to different types of on-call contracts. There are three types of on-call contracts, zero-hours contracts, min.-max. contracts, and pre-agreements. However, since the introduction of the chain rule the latter hardly exist anymore and will not be dealt with in this blog.
A zero-hours contract is an employment contract and therefore there are obligations for both employers and employees. Employers must, for instance, call upon employees when there is work and workers are in principle required to perform work when called upon. In principle, employers are required to continue to pay salary even if there is no work or if no work can be performed due to other reasons at the risk of the employer. In addition, the following requirements apply:
In this contract a minimum and maximum number of hours are agreed upon between employer and employee. The minimum hours are also referred to as “guaranteed number of hours”.
With regard to a min.-max. contract the following requirements apply:
Regarding all on-call contracts, each time the employees are called upon they are entitled to a salary for at least three hours of work. Even if the employees have worked for a period of less than three hours. This requires however that the employment contract does not contain a clear scope of work, or that the scope of work is less than 15 hours per week. Min.-max. contracts are subject to the condition that the guaranteed number of hours is less than 15 hours per week. This may have been deviated from in a collective agreement.
In principle, the employer is required to continue to pay wages if the employee is unable to perform work due to reasons at the risk of the employer, such as cancellation of an order, technical problems, or if a company is snowed in. In an on-call contract the obligation to continue to pay wages also applies if the employer can provide work but does not make a call upon the employees.
The employer can exclude this obligation to continue to pay wages in the contract. For zero-hours contracts this means, for instance, that the employer is not required to continue to pay wages if there is no more work, regarding min. max. contracts, this means that the guaranteed number of hours don’t have to be paid, only the hours worked have to be paid. The rule that three hours per call have to be paid will remain in effect.
The obligation to continue to pay wages can be excluded for a maximum period of six months, but in collective agreements may be laid down the possibility of extension. This is only possible if the activities are carried out occasionally and not restricted in scope. For instance, if employees are only called upon in peak periods or to substitute employees that are temporarily absent.
On-call contracts, in whatever form, are usually temporary contracts. Since the introduction of the Work and Security Act, stricter rules have been applied regarding the probationary period, notice period, chain rule, and non-solicitation clause.
Would you like to learn more about the rights of on-call employees and the obligations of employers? Or do you have any questions concerning the Labour Market in Balance Bill or employee rights in general? Please contact us:
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