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New statistics on zero-hours contracts 30/04/2014 A new snapshot survey by the ONS has shown that employers are using around 1.4 million employee contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

New statistics on zero-hours contracts

A new snapshot survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that employers in Great Britain are using around 1.4 million employee contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

The estimate includes all those contracts under which some work was done during a two-week period between late January and early February 2014.

Non-guaranteed hours contracts (NGHCs) include, but are not exclusively, “zero-hours contracts”, as they also include some other contract types that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.   

Around 13% of employers surveyed reported some use of NGHCs, including almost half of all businesses in the tourism, catering and food sectors. More than one in five employers in health and social work reported using them, although they were found to be relatively rare in financial and professional services and the manufacturing, energy and agricultural industries.

Larger employers were much more likely to use NGHCs than smaller ones. Nearly half of businesses with 250 or more employees make some use of NGHCs compared with 12% of businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

In addition to those NGHCs reported to be in use during the two-week survey period, ONS found evidence of a further 1.3 million contracts where no work was undertaken. This total might include people with contracts with several employers; agency staff, those not wanting to work; those who have found another job elsewhere but remain on employer records; some people on leave or sick and those not offered work in the reference period.

According to ONS, this group probably includes some contracts that need to be added to the official 1.4 million estimate, but the position needs to be investigated in more detail. It has confirmed that it will undertake further research in this area and report later in 2014.

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