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East Midlands Chamber News

Rise in zero-hours contract numbers

The number of people employed on zero-hours contracts has increased according to figures released this morning by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

In the three months to the end of June this year the number rose to 903,000, 2.9% of the workforce, from 747,000 for the same period last year.

People on zero-hours contracts are more likely to be young, part-time, women, or in full-time education, according to the ONS.

On average, someone on a zero-hours contract usually works about 25 hours a week.

The results of a November 2015 survey of businesses indicated that there were 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

Scott KnowlesScott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “Zero-hours contracts provide a flexibility that works for both employers and individuals, particularly now that exclusivity clauses have been removed.

“A great strength of the East Midlands is the large mix of sectors and employment types in the region, which has helped it to buck national trends and create jobs at a faster rate than any other region.

“A flexible labour market has been key to enabling local businesses to drive the economy forward and zero-hours contracts have been an important tool in this. They enable organisations to respond to peaks and troughs in demand and employees to manage caring responsibilities, study, improve their work–life balance or to downshift from full-time work as they move towards retirement.

“Much of the negativity surrounding zero-hours contracts is based on a misunderstanding of the role they play in creating and protecting jobs. They are a vital part of a successful jobs market.”