Almost 1 million UK workers are on zero-hours contracts, ONS figures suggest

Recruitment. Picture: Denise Bradley

Recruitment. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013

Almost 1 million people in the UK are working on zero-hours contracts, a third of whom are unhappy with their hours.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show around 101,000 more people were working on contracts with no minimum hours in the last quarter of 2016 compared with a year previously.

According to the latest Labour Force Survey, which surveys households, the estimated number of people on zero-hours contracts in their main job from October to December 2016 was 905,000, equal to 2.8% of all people in employment.

People on zero-hours contracts work an average of 25 hours a week, but one in three (32%) said they wanted more hours.

Meanwhile an ONS survey of businesses in November 2016 indicated there were 1.7 million contracts in operation which did not guarantee a minimum number of hours, representing 6% of all employment contracts – up one percentage point from May 2016.


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However, the ONS said this number would be greater than the number of people, as people can have more than one contract.

More than one in five (22%) people on the contracts are in the accommodation and food industry, accounting for 11% of the sector's total workforce.

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The ONS said people on zero-hours contracts were 'more likely to be young, part-time women, or in full-time education' when compared with other employed people.

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