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Coronavirus and Zero Hour Contract

Can employees on zero hour contracts claim benefits if business closes due to Coronavirus

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A client has staff on zero hours contracts. The business has been asked to close due to Coronavirus and is not in a position to pay staff while closed. What can the staff do? How does the employer claim any of the grants/ loans from the government?


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By SXGuy
19th Mar 2020 07:53

Grants are issued by local authority. Loans issued by the banks. As for everything else. Absolutely no idea.

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By paul.benny
19th Mar 2020 08:29

Employees can claim Universal Credit. The process is online and they may not need to visit a Job Centre. There is normally a waiting period, but advance payments are possible on request.

Citizens Advice have plenty of information online and there is a free, anonymous benefit checker at

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By kenny achampong
19th Mar 2020 10:06

How are HMRC going to deal with millions of people claiming universal credits ? A very high percentage of my clients and their employees have zero income indefinitely and all I can do is advise them to apply for UC. I had heard that UC was struggling to cope, but with an extra 5 or 10 million or more signing up in April and May, how on earth will they train staff and cope ? I havnt even heard HMRC workers being on the list of 'key workers' but without UC being paid out, I dread to think what will happen when people start going hungry, especially where I am in London. Rents etc are so high here, most people don't have savings. I have a horrible feeling that the government's answer to this is the 200,000 army personnel being brought in.

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Replying to kenny achampong:
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 10:35

kenny achampong wrote:

How are HMRC going to deal with millions of people claiming universal credits ?

They won't. It's the DWP's job.

But they won't be able to cope either.

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Replying to kenny achampong:
By ohgoodgodno
19th Mar 2020 10:41

HMRC are already working with a reduced workforce anyway due to social distancing

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Replying to kenny achampong:
By Duggimon
19th Mar 2020 10:56

Fortunately for all concerned, HMRC have nothing to do with Universal Credit. That's why it works as well as it does, imagine the chaos.

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By wizwozzoo
26th Mar 2020 11:38

I have clients with bar staff who have no guaranteed work and will work some weeks and not others. I am waiting to hear if they can be furloughed employees and if so, what formula to use, as in what period to base their wages on.

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By psimonparsons
26th Mar 2020 21:06

Two aspects:

1 - they will be due holiday pay if the employment is terminated. 5.6 weeks prorated by the length of the contract from start to when employment ends. A weeks pay is the average of the prior 12 paid weeks ignore weeks with no pay. The average rises to 52 paid weeks from 6th April 2020

2 - consider the coronavirus job retention scheme and furlough. 80% of their average earnings can be reclaimed as a grant from HMRC.

There are also time to pay options and special business loan schemes.

Zero hours workers do have rights.

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