September 30, 2015

New statistics made available about zero-hours contracts

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of employees working on this basis has risen to 744,000 (an increase of almost 20 per cent when compared to last year.)

The arrangements are most common in the hotel and leisure sectors and among those employed by smaller companies.

Critics have argued those employed on a zero-hours basis are typically paid less per hour than those on conventional contracts and will also miss out on benefits such as sick pay.

The Labour Party’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has said that he supported new laws which would require employers to offer a minimum number of hours each week.

Responding to the figures, the Institute of Directors (IoD) maintained that the contracts were a small but important part of the UK’s labour market.

James Sproule, the IoD’s director policy, said the arrangements were popular with groups such as students and older people.

“Although zero hours contracts have drawn much political attention, only a very small proportion of the total workforce have one for their main job, less than 2.5 per cent of the total.

“Flexible working arrangements helped preserve jobs during the downturn and protected the UK from double-digit rates of unemployment.”

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