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Home > Are zero-hours contracts in decline?

Are zero-hours contracts in decline?

3rd October 2017 | Published by Anthony James

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years regarding Britain’s so-called ‘gig economy’, particularly the growing number of zero-hours contracts in the job market. In a nutshell, these are contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours per week. But while some say this structure of working affords people greater flexibility and control over their work-life balance, many people argue it can easily lead to a basic breach of employment rights.

Whichever way you look at it, recent findings from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of people currently on zero-hours contracts has fallen by 2.2% compared to this time last year. This also means that the number of zero-hours contracts is now at its lowest point in the past three years, a sign that the trend may be beginning to slow down.

It tends to be larger established businesses and corporations that are among the main proponents of zero-hours contracts, particularly those in the admin support, delivery and food services industries.


Under investigation

Following calls from workers and union officials, Theresa May ordered a national inquiry into modern working practices, including the widespread usage of zero-hours contracts, earlier this year.

The subsequent report delivered by Matthew Taylor back in July found that zero-hours contracts had contributed greatly to record levels of employment in the UK. And although Taylor made the point that around 68% of those on these contracts did not want more hours, he also argued that employers and businesses were relying too heavily on short-hours contracts in their scheduling, as well as stating that all zero-hours workers should have the right to request a fixed number of working hours contract should they wish to.

Although any prospect of a national strategy to protect the rights of zero-hours workers remains in its infancy, the feeling is there that the Government is starting to better define the parameters for businesses and workers alike. And, judging by the recent drop in these contracts, it may very well be that the casual working boom has reached its peak.

 

Category: Homepage, Money
This post was written by Anthony James
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