The Office for National Statistics has released data confirming that the number of individuals engaged on Zero Hours Contracts has now reached 910,000. The data shows that 105,000 more people were on Zero Hours Contracts in 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.
Generally speaking, Zero Hours Contract is one in which the employer does not guarantee the individual any hours of work. The employer offers the individual work as and when it arises and the individual can either accept the work offered or decline.
The use of Zero Hours Contracts has always been controversial and a number of high-profile businesses have recently stopped using them or reduced their use. It was recently reported that pub giant JD Wetherspoon has offered thousands of staff on Zero Hours Contracts the opportunity to move onto contracts with guaranteed hours.
Despite the controversy surrounding this type of contract, the recent figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics shows that the use of Zero Hours Contracts is actually on the increase. This is probably due to the fact that this type of contract does provide benefits for individuals in terms of flexibility which may in fact suit workers such as students, parents and those with caring responsibilities.
The recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that it is very much still a “live” issue and one that is likely to figure in the budget.