Number of zero-hours contracts could be four times official estimate, says research

New research shows that the number of Britons on zero-hours contracts could be four times the official estimate.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around one million UK workers who have jobs in London or the rest of the UK, could be employed under the contracts, which give no guarantee of hours and pay. This is around 0.84 per cent of the workforce.

The figures are much lower than that put forward by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), who claimed that between three and four per cent of the workforce were on zero-hours contracts.

However, although the contracts have been criticised by some organisations such as trade union Unison – who want them banned – other experts claim that there is nothing wrong with the contracts. This includes Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, who argued that the contracts can bring benefits to businesses.

He told ft.com: “There does need to be a closer look at what is meant by a zero hours contract, the different forms that they take, and clearer guidance on what good and bad practice in their use looks like… this needs to consider both the advantages and disadvantages in practice for businesses and employees.”

In addition, Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), told hrmagazine.co.uk that a ban on zero-hours contracts was “ridiculous”.

by Samantha Bartlett on August 5, 2013

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