Our region sees huge increase in number of people on zero hours contracts

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 15 May 2017

PEOPLE in Yorkshire and the Humber on zero hours contracts has risen by nearly a fifth in a year.

From October to December 2016 there were 80,000 people employed on zero hours contracts - an 18 per cent rise from 68,000 during the same period in 2015.

One of the biggest rises in the UK, In Yorkshire and the Humber, one in 32 employees (3.1 per cent) was on a zero hours contract during October to December 2016.

Across the UK, the number of people employed on "zero-hours contracts" in their main job during October to December 2016 was 905,000, representing 2.8 per cent of all people in employment.

This latest estimate is 101,000 higher than for October to December 2015 (804,000 or 2.5 per cent of people in employment), a 12.5 per cent rise, according to figures from the Labour Force Survey published by the Office for National Statistics.

The results from the November 2016 survey of businesses show there were 1.7 million employment contracts where work was carried out, that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours. This represented 6 per cent of all employment contracts.

The equivalent figures for May 2016 were 1.7 million and 5 per cent.

The number and percentage of contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours are unchanged compared with a year earlier (November 2015), however, the number of businesses making some use of these contracts fell - from 10 per cent of businesses to 7 per cent.

While increases in numbers of people on zero hour contracts in recent years may be due to greater awareness and recognition of the term, with its now widespread use, the increase may also reflect these types of contract becoming more common.

The ONS says it is not possible to estimate the extent to which increases are driven by rising awareness.

People on "zero-hours contracts" are more likely to be young, part-time, women, or in full-time education when compared with other people in employment.

One in 13 people aged 16 to 24 are on zero hour contracts, 7.5 per cent, but the next group most likely to be on these contracts are those aged 65 and over (2.7 per cent). For women, 3.1 per cent are on zero hour contracts compared to 2.6 per cent of men in employment.

On average, someone on a "zero-hours contract" usually works 25 hours a week.

Around 1 in 3 people (32 per cent) on a "zero-hours contract" want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job, as opposed to a different job that offers more hours. In comparison, 9 per cent of other people in employment wanted more hours.

There is no single agreed definition of what "zero-hours contracts"are. While some contracts are explicitly called zero-hours contracts, there are other definitions available and used in published statistics. The common element to the definitions is the lack of a guaranteed minimum number of hours.

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