Contract confusion

The vast majority of construction workers perform their duties without a contract, according to a new poll.

In addition, 16 per cent of respondents said they had zero hours contracts. Twenty per cent did not know whether they had a contract or not.

“I think it is very telling that just under three quarters said that they would prefer to have a written employment contract and that 76 per cent just turn up for work with no contract in place,” said Lyndon Wood, chief executive of constructaquote.com which ran the survey.

“Working in the trades without any form of written contract has been the way the industry has worked for years.”

The study collated the responses of more than 1,043 UK adults aged 18 and above who identified themselves as working in construction.

When asked whether they received pay if weather stopped work, only 12 per cent said that they did.

Mr Wood added: “The majority of those we polled told us that they did not receive any sick pay or annual leave – which I think is a worrying statistic as many of our tradespeople are out in all weathers keeping the UK economy ticking over.”

Palmersemployment law specialist Lara Murray said: “Employers have a million and one things to do. It means additional tasks that, at first glance, do not seem to have bearing on the day-to-day running of a business can be left alone.

“But lack of contracts, or employees’ uncertainty around them, does not provide employers with an automatic get-out on a raft of issues. The best way for businesses to ensure compliance and to protect themselves from a tribunal is to speak to experts in these matters. For more information about the services Palmers provides, please contact us.”