Zero hours contracts ? ONS update
02 September 2015
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces biannual estimates of the number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours, based on a survey of businesses. The measure complements the figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which show the number of people who report that they are on a zero-hours contract in their main employment. This report contains the latest figures from the LFS as well as new estimates from the third time the ONS has surveyed businesses.
The latest estimate shows:
- The number of people employed on a zero-hours contract in their main job was 744,000 for April to June 2015, representing 2.4% of all people in employment. In the same period in 2014, this was 2.0% of all people in employment (624,000).
- The number of people saying they are employed on zero-hours contracts depends on whether or not they recognise this term. It is not possible to say how much of the increase between 2014 and 2015 is due to greater recognition rather than new contracts.
- The number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours where work was carried out was 1.5 million for the fortnight beginning 19 January 2015. This is some 6 per cent higher than the estimate of 1.4 million for the fortnight beginning 20 January 2014, though the increase is not statistically significant.
- On average, someone on a zero-hours contract usually works 25 hours a week.
- Around 40% of people on zero-hours contracts want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job.
- People on zero-hours contracts are more likely to be women or in full-time education. They are also more likely to be aged under 25 or 65 and over.
- Around two-fifths of businesses in Accommodation and Food Services and a quarter of businesses in Education made some use of no guaranteed hours contracts in January 2015.
Such comparisons provide, for the first time, an indication of the change in the number of NGHCs (No Guaranteed Hours Contracts) over a one year period. This latest estimate of total NGHCs where work was done in the reference period is some 91,000 higher than the 1.4 million estimate for January 2014, an increase of 6%, though the increase is not statistically significant.
As with the LFS figures, responses to the survey could be affected by changes in employers’ reporting behaviour. This figure should not be directly compared with the last published estimate (1.8 million for the fortnight beginning 11 August 2014) to imply a decrease. It covers a different time of year and so differences in the number of such contracts reported may reflect seasonal factors.
The difference between the business survey and LFS will partly be accounted for by people who have more than one zero-hours contract with different employers or who have a zero-hours contract to supplement their main employment.
You can read the full update from the ONS through the link below.