Zero-hours contracts: 801,000 workers on zero-hours terms
The number of workers on a zero-hours contract for their main job stood at 801,000 in late 2015, up by 104,000 from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
That meant 2.5% of the employed UK workforce was on such a contract.
ONS statistician Nick Palmer said some of this rise could reflect greater recognition of “zero-hours” contracts.
However, he added: “There’s also nothing to suggest this form of employment is in decline.”
In its report, the ONS said there were about 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours in November, meaning that many workers had more than one zero-hours contract.
The previous estimate, for May 2015, was 2.1 million, but the ONS said that the estimates could be affected by seasonal factors and should not be directly compared.
Those on zero-hours contracts were more likely to be young people, part-time workers, women, or those in full-time education when compared with other people in employment.
Someone on a zero-hours contract worked an average of 26 hours a week. About a third of those on a zero-hours contract wanted to work longer, with most wanting more hours in their current job, as opposed to a different job that offered more hours.
In comparison, only 10% of other people in other types of employment wanted more hours, the ONS said.
The TUC condemned the rise in zero-hours contracts as “a nightmare for workers”.
TUC research found that average weekly earnings for zero-hours workers were £188, compared with £479 for permanent employees.