The rise of zero-hours contracts: When these figures from the Office for National Statistics were published in August last year, fears were voiced that they may be showing only one-fifth of the picture.

The rise of zero-hours contracts: When these figures from the Office for National Statistics were published in August last year, fears were voiced that they may be showing only one-fifth of the picture.

Alex Little, over at alittleecon, has been exploring the murky world of zero-hours contracts and has some sensible things to say.

According to the quarterly Labour Force Survey by the Office for National Statistics, for April-June 2014, there were 622,000 people on zero-hour contracts. This is a huge leap upwards from the 200,000 the ONS recorded for October-December 2012, and Mr Little points out that similar surveys asking businesses how many zero-hours staff they have suggests the figure could be as high as 1.4 million.

He adds: “622,000 sounds like a lot of people to be working for no guaranteed hours. 1.4 million even more so. The real issue is around choice. If the people working ZHCs are like I was at university, then ZHCs may be appropriate. If not though and people are being forced into them because no other work is available, it is very worrying, and it seems unlikely that all those (or even most of those) on ZHCs are happy with the arrangement. This new data and future updates will help us understand what we’re dealing with.”

Absolutely correct – but this information is long overdue.

Read the rest of the article on alittleecon.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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