A Rise In Zero Hours Contracts?

Monday 2nd March 2015

According to a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), approximately 697,000 individuals were employed on a “zero-hours contract” in their main job between October and December 2014. For the same period in 2013, this figure was 586,000.

ONS statistics also showed that during the first two weeks of August 2014, 1.8 million workers were employed on zero-hours contracts, as compared with the previously published estimate of 1.4 million workers for the fortnight beginning 20 January 2014. However, the ONS did recommend that these two estimates should not be directly compared, as they cover different times of the year, which may reflect seasonal factors.

Clare Moore in Gordons’ employment team says “Whilst the above figures suggest a significant rise in the use of zero-hours contracts, it may be the case that the apparent increase is a result of the significant media attention that zero-hours contracts have attracted over the last 12 months or so, meaning that people are now much more likely to be aware that they are employed under a zero-hours contract.”

New legislation is expected to come into force later this year to ban the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. This will essentially mean that employers will be unable to prevent the individual from working for someone else whilst they are contracted on a zero-hours basis.