How many employees are on Zero Hours Contracts?
The latest estimate of this number is about one million. But there is much unclarity about this figure.
Firstly, 38% of contracted workers see themselves as being full time, as they are working 30 or more hours per week. In fact, they are on zero hours contracts. This instantly throws doubt on any estimate of the total number on zero hour contracts. Indeed, any estimate is probably too low.
Then why this ignorance? Is there wilful obfuscation on the part of the employer? Is the employee so grateful for work under any condition, that they fear to ask for clarity about their contract? Are these contracts so worded as to be unclear to anyone without a legal training?
Secondly, the evidence suggests that there is rather more zero hour contracts in the voluntary and public sectors, than in the private sector. The figures are: Voluntary Sector 34% Public Sector 24% Private Sector 17%.
Thirdly, 14% of those on zero hours contracts do not get enough hours to afford a basic standard of living. Further, under some contracts one has to ask permission to get other work, from another employer!
The defence for this treatment of human beings is that many actively want, and even enjoy it. The list includes parents of young children, carers, students, and others who want to fit work around their home lives. All these people do exist, but this list hides the uncertainty over one’s weekly income. This is because of the uncertainty about being offered work on any one day. The domestic budget may soon be in chaos. For some part time workers this may bring advantages; especially if one has alternative forms of self-employment, or savings. But for employers there is a real advantage. The wage bill, or “cost base”, is sharply reduced. Profits may well increase. Please see my website at: whyworktoday2967