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ONS releases figures on zero-hours contracts: on the decline to zero?

29 September 2017 #Contracts

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that, as of June 2017, there were an estimated 883,000 people working under contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours. This is down 2.2% from June 2016, and the lowest since January 2014 according to ONS figures. However, the percentage of these contracts as a share of employment agreements as a whole remained stable at 2.8%.

Zero-hours contracts (ZHCs) have been targeted by various politicians and union leaders, with the Labour Party calling for their outright ban. Matthew Taylor, in his recent report on Modern Employment Practices, called for workers on ZHCs to be given the right to request a permanent contract after 12 months.

The ONS found a worker on a ZHC works 26 hours per week on average, with more than 26% seeking additional hours in their current job. By comparison, just 7.2% of other people in employment seek additional hours.

Business analysts suggest that businesses are increasingly reluctant to use ZHCs as they fear damage to their reputation. For instance, Homebase has scrapped the use of ZHCs entirely, while McDonald’s and JD Wetherspoon have offered staff on ZHCs the opportunity to move to fixed-hours contracts. It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue.


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Louise Merrell

Louise Merrell

E: lmerrell@clarkslegal.com
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