Zero hours contracts increasing - Palmers Solicitors

Zero hours contracts increasing

Almost 700,000 people are now working on zero hours contracts, according to new official figures.

The Office for National Statistics reported on 25 February that 697,000 people (2.3 per cent of all people in work) were employed on a zero hours contract in their main job in the October-December 2014 period. The number rose from 586,000 for the same period the previous year.

While findings from a second ONS survey suggested that there were around 1.8 million zero hours contracts in August 2014, compared with 1.4 million in January 2014, the ONS said the difference in the figures was partly due to people having more than one zero hours contract with different employers or being employed on a zero hours contract alongside their main job.

The ONS also reported that people employed on the contracts were more likely to be women, in full-time education or in young or older age groups than people in employment generally.

It said that on average, someone worked 25 hours on a zero hours contract and around one-third of people on such contracts would like more hours, with most wanting these in their current job.

Sectors in which the most people worked on zero hours contracts were accommodation and food (159,000) and health and social work (149,000).

When the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill comes into force, exclusivity clauses that prevent people on zero hours contracts from working elsewhere, will be prohibited.

Palmers’ employment law specialist Lara Murray said: “Labour has pledged further reforms of zero hours contracts if it gets into power – including the right for zero hours employees who have consistently worked regular hours to receive a fixed hours contract automatically – so the outcome of the general election in May could bring further changes to the existing regime.

“Our Employment Law team can provide expert advice to employees on all types of employment contract issues, including zero hours, as well as assisting with issues including unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination, flexible working requests and shared parental leave.

“Fixed fee interviews are available but many people will find they have legal expenses cover under the terms of their household or car insurance policies to help them pursue a claim. For more information, please contact our Employment Law team.”