The BBC reports that a new study by the CIPD has identified that four times as many UK workers are on zero hours contracts than was thought – that’s around 1 million people. Such contracts allow employers to schedule their employees for as many, or as few, hours per week as they like. This flexibility enables operators to respond rapidly to changes in demand for their products or services. The practice is frequently used in the retail industry and home care sector.
From the employee’s perspective this way of working may have some advantages, since it provides them with a great deal of flexibility too, in terms of which days of the week and how many hours per day they are available for work. On the downside, their take home pay is unreliable, as the employer may not offer them as many hours work as they are available to do.