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Nearly 3 percent of UK workers on zero hours contracts

Staff Writer |
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published figures showing that 2.9 percent (903,000) of the employed UK workforce say they work on a zero hours basis in their main job.

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This is up from 2.4% (747,000) for the same period in 2015.

Zero hours contracts are more likely to be used by larger businesses: 40% of businesses with 250+ workers make some use of no guaranteed hours contracts, compared with around 10% of businesses with fewer than 10 workers.

A quarter of businesses in the accommodation and food industry (26%) employ some staff on a zero hours basis, compared to 5% of construction businesses (figures relate to November 2015).

Women make up more than half (55%) of those reporting working on zero-hours contracts. This compares with people working on other types of contract, where 45% are women.

Over a third (36%) of zero hours workers are aged 16-24 and one in five (20%) of people saying they work on a zero hours contract are in full time education.

The figures highlight the flexibility of hours worked by people on a zero hours contract, with 37% reporting that they worked fewer, and 22% more than their usual hours at the time they responded to the survey.

This compares with 29% and 13% respectively for other workers. Well over half (58%) of other workers said they worked their usual hours, compared with 42% of those who said they worked on a zero hours contract.

The majority (65%) of people working on zero hours contracts said they worked part time, compared with 26% of other workers.

The average number of hours usually worked by someone on a zero hours contract per week was 25 hours. Nearly a third of people (31%) on zero-hours contracts want to work more hours, with most wanting them in their current job. Among both zero hours and other workers, a minority wanted a different job with more hours: 8% and 1% respectively.

The latest available figures on the number of zero hours contracts (as opposed to people who say they work on a zero hours contract), comes from a different survey to the figures above, and were first published in March this year.

They relate to the fortnight from 9 November 2015 and show that there were 1.7 million contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours, where work had actually been carried out under those contracts.


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