Use of zero-hours contracts increases

The use of zero-hours contracts has risen by 6% in the last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A survey of employee contracts conducted in January 2015 found that here were 1.5 million zero-hours contracts, compared to 1.4 million a year earlier.

There were 744,000 people on a zero-hours contract in their main job, which is 2.4% of all people in employment, ONS data from the Labour Force Survey for April-June 2015 has revealed. This compares to 624,000 people, or 2% of the working population, a year ago.

Important statistics:

  • 54% of those on zero-hours contracts are women
  • 20% of people on zero-hours contracts are in full-time education.

Nick Palmer, senior statistician at the ONS, said:

“Both measures suggest there may have been a small trend towards more use of zero-hours contracts, although the usual margins of error associated with the surveys’ estimates mean that we cannot be certain of this.

“Moreover, as previously, the results from the Labour Force Survey might have been influenced by increased recognition of the term ‘zero-hours contract’ among respondents.”

John Cridland, director general at the Confederation of British Industry, said:

“The focus should be on tackling bad practice, as the number of zero-hours contracts is less important than ensuring that they benefit both the individual and their employer.”

James Sproule, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Zero hours contracts offer businesses and employees an important degree of flexibility.

“For skilled professionals, a degree of flexibility can boost their earning power, while flexibility also suits students and older people – the main users of zero-hours contracts – who cannot commit to a set number of hours each and every week.”

We can advise on choosing the right contracts for your business and staff.