Chartered HR and development professional organisation, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), announced on Monday that it has carried out new research to examine the level of zero hour contracts used in various business sectors, which was designed to provide guidance on best practice that will be of benefit to employers and employees alike.
The CIPD’s forthcoming summer 2013 Labour Market Outlook research reveals that out of an approximate one million UK workers thought to be on zero hours contracts, just 14% say they are not provided with adequate weekly hours of work. These findings are higher than the recent figures announced by the Office for National Statistics, which had suggested that less than 1% of employed people consider themselves to be on a zero hour contract.
A nationally representative survey of over 1,000 employers was conducted by the CIPD and the resulting data showed that a fifth of UK employers engaged at least one person on a zero hours contract, with 34% of employers in the voluntary sector and 24% of public sector employers revealing that they were more likely to use zero hours contracts, compared to 17% of private sector employers. An average 19.5 hours per week is said to be worked by employees on zero hours contracts, who are twice as likely to be either in the 18 to 24 age bracket or over 55, compared to other age groups.
Hotels, catering and leisure were the industries more likely to employ at least one person on a zero hours contracts at 48%, while 35% of employers from the education sector and 27% healthcare employers were most likely to use zero hours contracts.
One in four employers with 250 or more staff were found to use zero hours contracts, in comparison to just 11% of smaller organisations with less than 250 workers.
CIPD’s CEO Peter Cheese commented: “Zero hours contracts, used appropriately, can provide flexibility for employers and employees and can play a positive role in creating more flexible working opportunities. This can for example allow parents of young children, carers, students and others to fit work around their home lives. However, for some this may be a significant disadvantage where they need more certainty in their working hours and earnings, and we need to ensure that proper support for employees and their rights are not being compromised through such arrangements. Zero hours contracts cannot be used simply to avoid an employer’s responsibilities to its employees.”