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ResignationYou’re ready to resign your Zero Hour Contract. How should you do it?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer as it depends on what’s in your contract. Therefore, you should read your contract and see what it says about Notice Period.

In theory, a Zero Hour Contract gives you the right to leave without notice as you have no obligation to accept the work offered. So, you could hand in your notice and not accept any work offered.

In practice, it depends on whether you are paid in arrears, want a reference etc. If this is the case, then I would work the notice period specified in your contract.

Your employment status, as specified in your contract, is very important. Are you on a true zero hour contract or is it a contract where it’s dressed up to look like one?

If your contract states that the employer is not obliged to offer any more than 0 hours per week then you are a Worker on a Zero Hour Contract. Otherwise, you are an Employee.

If you are an Employee, you must either work your Notice Period or, have salary deducted in lieu of Notice if you leave immediately.

Notice Period

It is usual, whether you have a written contract or not, to give one week’s notice for each full 12 months of contracted employment whether you worked or not. For example, if you have had your contract for 2 years and 1 day you would give 2 week’s notice. But, under most circumstances, your Contractual Notice Period takes precedence. If your contract only calls for 1 week’s notice regardless of the period of employment, that’s what you give, 1 week’s notice.

So how do you resign?

It is best to write a letter of resignation and either hand it to your manager, preferably in the presence of a witness or, send it by Recorded Delivery to the company’s Human Resources Department. This is so the receipt of the letter and the “date of receipt” can both be proven.

The letter should contain:

  • Your Address
  • The date of the letter
  • The Company’s Name & Address
  • The request to resign
  • The notice period
  • The date of your last working day
  • Any other information i.e. a new address to send P60 or P45
  • Your signature
  • Your full name after your signature

You can download an example letter which you can edit here:

Instructions for editing the letter

You need to replace the sections marked with [] square brackets with your information.

For example:

[Your Street]
[Your Town]
[Post Code]

would be replaced with your address. Remembering to delete the [] as well.

1 Acacias Gardens,


I want to help you so, if you have any questions about resigning, please leave them below.

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  1. Gina king

    I believe I am on a zero hours contract as my hours and shifts change every week. I have never had a written contract or written terms and conditions. I have been told verbally that if I don’t work a shift I have been given I will be fired and I will get holiday pay and they will tell me how much it is when I have accrewed some (I have been there 3 months and apparently haven’t earn any yet).
    How much notice do you think I have to give as I work a week in hand and don’t want to lose any pay as I work about 72 hours a week.

    • This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice.

      Although not strictly necessary I would give one week’s notice in writing. Keep a copy and make a note of who you gave it to and when (date and time). That way, if there are problems, you have evidence you can take to Citizens Advice.

      72 hours a week seems rather a lot for a zero hours contract!

  2. Victoria jones

    Hi I work for a care company for 7month now and I have a zero hour contract I think as some weeks I work 20hour and the next I work 45hours. I get paid on the last working day of every month but get paid minute by minute so only paid when logging in and out of calls.
    I been told to give 2 weeks but do to family problems I can only give just over a week. What is the best thing for me to do??

    • This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice.

      Due to health problems I haven’t been able to reply to your message until now.

      Basically, you need to check your written contract and follow the notice period set therein.

  3. wojtek

    I have worked 11.5year for NHS.i have changed my full time contract to 0hrs after 5years. so 6.5year i have worked on 0hrs but i never recive 0hrs contract in to my hand. what to do now.The HR replyed to my resignation that they accept it but i havent state any notice. what should i do as i have no idea what to do?

    • This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice.

      If you have or have ever had a written contract or employee handbook from your employer you must follow the terms set out in that contract or handbook.

      If you have neither, you are then covered by a “Standard Employment Contract”.

      This contract states that you and your employer should give one week’s notice for each full year worked up to a maximum of 8 weeks notice.

      However, on a Zero Hour Contract it’s quite simple. Your employer doesn’t guarantee any work and you don’t have to accept the work offered. Therefore, you can give your notice for the required period and refuse all work offered during that period. This leaves you free to start a new job immediately.

      There is a problem though with this approach. If you want a reference. Your refusal to accept work offered may be included in the reference.

  4. Christine

    I have been working 20 hours a week on a zero contract since new management took over. I have no contract, I have been there for 22 years and now the boss has given me only 8 hours a week. What happens if i leave have i any right to claim anything.

    • Christine,

      If you’ve been there for 22 years then you will have had a ordinary contract at some point as Zero Hour Contracts are relatively new.

      I would visit your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau with all the documentation you have from your current and previous employers. Citizen’s Advice can then review the information you have and give you more accurate advice.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice.

    • Tony

      you are obtained security gaurd bexcuse I use to do 72hours 6 12 hour shifts am just about to leave a zero hour contact myself wait till you get your pay then then send email to resign as from this instance to hr

  5. Lindsey

    I work as a home carer going to people’s homes and I am looking for different work I’ve been here for over a year and in contract says 4 weeks notice, but they recently changed the name of the company and I haven’t signed a new one with the new name does my old contract still stand for 4 weeks notice or can I give 2 weeks because I haven’t signed a new one with the new name?

    • If you have a contract provided it’s with the same company it’s usually considered valid even if the company changed it’s name. If it’s with a different company, i.e. a different company bought the business, and you haven’t been given a new contract, then it depends on what information they sent you.

      If you are on a Zero Hours Contract you are under no obligation to accept any work offered. In that case you can give your notice and not accept any work during the notice period.

      If you are on a normal contract, you have to give the required notice period though, you may be able to negotiate a shorter notice period with HR.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  6. Hi wondering if you can help
    My partner is a part time care worker.
    As far as my partner is aware she is on a zero hour contract and has been repeatedly told this by the mangers and owners at the company.
    However at the time of signing the contract she was not given a copy of it, and subsequently had not been given a copy of the contract since.
    She has been under immense stress due to the job, not sleeping well losing weight etc.
    I’ve told her on many occasions to resign with immediate effect, and give a weeks notice and refuse to accept any work during that notice period.
    She doesn’t need a reference from the employer, and quite frankly just wants to part ways as soon as possible.
    They keep threatening her with “safeguarding issues” as they claim once they have provided a rota (list of clients to visit) she is obliged to complete that rota, if she doesn’t she could be endangering the clients well being.
    Can they do that?

    • She needs to have a copy of her contract or confirmation, in writing, that she is on a Zero Hours Contract. Until she has either of those the answer is “We don’t know”.

      If she is on a Zero Hours Contract then the company is “playing with fire” as the employee has no obligation what-so-ever to accept any work offered. The company is gambling that the employee will acquiesce to “pressure”. “Safeguarding issues” are not relevant with regards to accepting work under a Zero Hours Contract provided she hasn’t accepted her rota for the week/period. See the UK Government information on Zero Hours Contracts:

      Zero Hours Contracts work both ways. Companies forget that at their peril.

      She needs to have a copy of her contract. The company legally has to provide her with a copy if she has signed one.

      If a job were causing me health issues, I’d resign giving the required notice period. Whether I’d work the notice period would depend on the type of contract.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  7. Hi thank you so much for your response.
    They keep fobbing her off whenever she asks for a copy of the contract.
    So we’re not sure what to do in that regard. One excuse or another every time.
    However we are 100% certain that it is a zero hour contract as that’s what she remembers it to be, and as I said that has been confirmed on a number of occasions by her employers.
    So today we shall compile a resignation letter with immediate effect, with a notice period of two weeks, which we believe to be reasonable. As it’s a zero hour contract, the letter would also state that any work offered during the notice period will not be undertaken.
    They’ve been sending the rota via her email account, I’ve suggested to her to deactivate that account as then any incoming mail would be bounced back to the sender.
    Like I’ve said my partner is very naive and very timid and easily manipulated and I feel that’s what they’ve been doing to her, taking advantage of her.
    I’d like to also add, they’ve been sending her payslips via an online portal, which she has a user I’D and password for. Long story short, she forgot the password 🙄 and the manager asked for £20 for retrieved of that password, which she gave, to no avail, because she still doesn’t have access to that portal. So we’re very sceptical as to the accuracy of the wages too.
    It’s just a can of worms 😣 don’t know whether to laugh or to cry…..
    Thanks anyway 🖒

    • Some things to think about.

      • As they haven’t provided her with a copy of the contract, you may want to think about giving one week’s notice for each full year worked. So, for example, if she has worked for them for 3.5 years she gives 3 weeks notice. In the letter, state that as she hasn’t been given a copy of her contract she is giving the statutory contractual notice.
      • You may also want to think about not writing in the letter that she is going to refuse the work offered as she is supposed to work her notice period. Instead, as each rota arrives she replies immediately, using a delivery receipt, that she is not available for work that week.
      • In the letter, ask that her P45 and P60 are sent, by post, to her home address.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  8. Giovanna

    I worked a zero hour contract this month with a very dodgy company, so basically I applied as a receptionist and in my job spec, I was told I would be doing receptionist duties “FOR MINIMUM WAGE” (I didn’t mind, I was really in need of a job) however, they can call me minutes before I am to start not to come in on that day anymore, but when I call in sick hours before I’m to start, it’s a problem. In the job also, you have to give a FOUR WEEK HOLIDAY NOTICE TIME (mind, not just for holidays, for emergencies also) meaning, you must know if a relative could die (forgive my extremity) in the next 4 weeks or don’t bother.
    In this same “job”, they overwork the staff, receptionists are cleaners (mopping the floors and all) ticket handlers, COLD CALLERS (sales people), factory workers (packing sweet bags and stuff)..mind you, this is a huge play centre for children.
    I got fed up yesterday when I was asked to clean skirting boards on the walls as there was dust on it. “I did not apply for cleaning work”.. so I’ve decided to quit, not caring for the job at all.
    My problem remains if they will pay me or not and what to do if they don’t.

    • Giovanna,

      They have to pay you for hours worked. That’s the law. Although, they may be able to withhold pay against the return of company property like a uniform.

      If they don’t pay you, go straight to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau with your contract and other documents (like letters) and they will sort it all out for you.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  9. Shauna

    I have a zero hour contract but I work 40 hours a week every week I am meant to be cover staff for holidays etc yet I’ve done 40 hours since I started in October, I asked for a 40 hour contract and they said they didn’t any available even though I’m doing it now, I have a interview next week for a new job elsewhere so I’m not sure where I stand with how many weeks I need to give notice

    • Shauna,

      Have a look at your contract from your employer, even on a Zero Hours contract you should have one. In it it should state your notice period.

      If you don’t have a contract then one week’s notice is the legal minimum as you’ve worked less than one year.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  10. Angela

    Hi I have been at my job for 4 months. I am a single parent to 2 children with disabilities and am finding it too difficult to work especially now as my childcare has let me down. I want to quit as it’s not worth the effect it’s having on my family.
    I have a zero hours contract but it says after working 3 months I have to give 4 weeks notice but I cannot go on for another 4 weeks and I don’t have the childcare now can I get out now?

    • Angela,

      It’s always best to discuss it with your manager or Personnel Department. If you talk to them, they may be able to negotiate a deal for you.

      Having said that, because you’re on a zero hours contract you can hand in your 4 weeks notice and refuse any work offered during the notice period. This is because you are under no legal obligation to accept the work offered. Just as your employer is under no legal obligation to offer you any work.

      The downside is that, if you need a reference in future, your employer may refuse to give you one or specify that you didn’t accept any work during your notice period. This might affect your chances of getting a job in the future if they ask for references.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  11. Ashley

    Hi, I’ve just handed in my notice, in my contract it states I need to only hand in one weeks worth but out of a kind hart I’ve gave two. However since I’ve handed in my notice the office staff have became very negative towards me and the about of bitching and rude comments I’ve had are unbelieveable. I’ve worked the one weeks notice and was wondering if I can cut my notice period and finish now ?

    • Ashley,

      I apologise for the late reply as I’m on holiday. I hope it’s not too late.

      It is very sad that the office staff have a negative attitude towards you. As you’ve given 2 weeks notice, I would contact your manager and ask if you can finish early. You can say you’ve worked your contractual notice period and would like to leave immediately.

      It’s always best to try and discuss things as, that way, an amicable resolution can often be found.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  12. Caroline Haeussinger

    Hi I’m working as a care practitioner and I want to leave my job because of personal reasons. I went today to the office and gave them my resignation with 2 weeks notice but my manager said I have to give them 4 weeks notice as it is stated in my contract. I am on a zero our contract and on my contract is written: ‘You’re employed upon a zero hours contract and there is no obligation on the part of the company to provide you with assignments, any hours or work, or any work at all. Your hours of work will be such hours as agreed with your Co- ordinator and will vary according to the assignment you are allocated’ . My question now is if I can give them 4 weeks notice and then don’t accept any work during my notice and just tell them I’m not available to work without getting into any trouble ?Thank you in advance

    • The short answer is: Yes you can.

      They may state on your reference that you didn’t accept any work during your notice period. But, you are allowed to refuse work at any time and for no reason just as they don’t have to give you any.

      Sorry for the delay in replying. Holidays play havoc with work 😀

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  13. Lozzlee


    I have two positions within the company I work for. One is contracted and the other is meant to be zero-hour. When I took on the contracted position, it was combined onto my new contract with my other position and the wording on my non-contracted position says ‘You have no guaranteed hours’ for that position. Having worked for the company since 2011, how much notice would I have to give? On this contract it states that its two weeks plus a week for each year worked, but it’s not clear if that’s just for my contracted hours or also for the zero-hour as I think they simply combined both roles into the same contract.


    • Based on you have provided you have to give 8 weeks notice.

      On your fixed contract (not the zero hours contract) does it specify the number of hours you have to work per week?

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

  14. Carollynn

    My partner is working for a very undisirable care company for the passed 6 months. He has been treated very badly and is trying to get another job. He is on a zero hour contract for example he has had 3 days in four weeks. How many weeks notice should he give , he is a very gentle man and the stress he is under from these people is making him ill.
    His worry is if he finishes himself will he get into trouble with the job centre .

    • Carollynn,

      There are a number of questions to answer here. The most important is the nature of a Zero Hours Contract.

      With a Zero Hours Contract you can have contracts with other companies. As many as you like. You can then accept the best offer or offers of work every week from each company as you wish and refuse the offers from those that aren’t suitable for you. So your partner can actively work for other companies on a zero hour contract if he so wishes – unscrupulous companies tend to forget or overlook this fact. There is no need to resign unless he wants to. He just refuses the work offered, unless it suits his requirements, and works for the other companies instead.

      If he resigns his job then he could lose Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or other benefits for a period of time. Ask him to complete one of these JSA Benefits Calculators: This should give him the information he needs.

      Unless otherwise stated in his contract, he needs to give 1 weeks notice. During the notice period, or at any other time, he does not have to accept any work offered.

      This content is for general information purposes only and does not form financial or professional advice

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