Mental Health

Zero hour contracts – good or bad?

Let’s be honest here, zero hour contacts are tough. You never know when you’re next working or where you next pay check is coming from but there are some benefits to a zero hour contact as well.

Zero hour contacts are becoming a lot more popular nowadays. A number of workplaces now offer this type of contact/employment. I’ve had two zero hour contacts since I was 16 years old and at both times they fit into my life really well. When I was 16, I had just started sixth form and needed a job that would fit in around my school hours but still enable me to take driving lessons etc. Again with my second job, I was still trying to fit in around sixth form.

My current job that I’m in now, promised hours even though it was a zero hour contract. In a hospital there are always shifts going and shifts that need filling which is why most hospitals have ‘bank staff’ which is exactly what I am. Bank staff are integral to the company because we fill in the shifts which helps to fill the wards rota so they’re not short staffed. This makes it easier for the patients and staff because we have more time for the patients and the staff are a hell of a lot more relaxed. I’ve been in this position for a year and a half and to be honest, it’s been great until recently. Shifts were always consistent, they were always out and sometimes you could book a month of shifts in one go. This was so handy for me because it meant I could track my hours and ensure I had enough money to pay my bills etc. I made no effort to become a permanent member of staff because I didn’t know what ward I wanted to work on and I also loved choosing my hours. I loved the fact I didn’t have to do the 12 hour shifts if I didn’t want to, I could do 6. I also loved the fact I could choose when I had my time off so my appointments fit in better etc. However, everything has recently changed, my hospital has decided to cut back on shifts for reasons that we are unaware about. Shifts are really hard to come by these days and they only really come out 6-8 hours before a shift which is not helpful if you want a shift for 7 the next morning. It’s a real struggle at the minute and I can feel it affecting my mental health due to not having regular work which is then causing me to stress about finances.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though, I promise! This is just how my situation has turned out and my battle to become a permanent member of staff turned out to be worse but that’s a different story. There are a number of pro’s to having a zero hour contact which is why so many people now accept them. These pro’s include but are not limited to:

Being able to work around childcare
Being able to work around partners etc
Hours that suit you
The flexibility
The lack of pressure for when/where you work
The opportunities that can arise e.g. an offer for a permanent position
Many more!

In all seriousness, I have loved both my jobs that have been on a zero hour basis and I would still carry on with them if the shifts were regular and I had children or other commitments etc. However, I want to advance in my career and I can’t really do that whilst I’m on a zero hour contract. I would seriously recommend looking at zero hour contracts though as they may be beneficial to you and your situation.

Well here’s to only a month left of stressing about my financial situation before I start my new full time job with guaranteed hours! What is your take on a zero hour contract? Do you think they are good or bad? Let me know.

Lots of love,

Els xxx

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