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Employees ‘happy’ with zero hours contracts

26 November 2013

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Most workers are happy on zero hours contracts, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed. 

Research from the CIPD shows that the use of zero hours contracts has been “underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised”. 

The survey of more than 1,000 employers has confirmed the CIPD’s initial estimate that there are approximately one million people (3.1% of the UK workforce) employed on zero-hours contracts.

Zero-hours workers, when compared to the average UK employee, are just as satisfied with their job (60% versus 59%), happier with their work-life balance (65% vs 58%), and less likely to think they are treated unfairly by their organisation (27% vs 29%).

Employers cite both sides of the flexibility equation in explaining their use of these contracts: two thirds (66%) highlight their need for the flexibility to respond to peaks and troughs in demand, but around a half (47%) of employers who use zero-hours contracts also cite the need to provide flexibility for individuals as one of the reasons informing their approach.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “The reality of today’s globally competitive economy and increasingly complex and age diverse workforce is that flexibility is here to stay. We need to focus attention on ensuring that people are well managed, are building the right skills, are engaged and productive. Many employers have a lot more to do in all of these areas to increase our international competitiveness. Flexible working arrangements can have a positive influence on productive and engaging work environments and those who call for excessive restriction of zero-hours contracts or who rail against measures to encourage more flexible working are equally out of touch with the modern world. 

“Zero-hours contracts combined with good management can be an effective means of matching the needs and requirements of modern business and modern working lives across a wide range of employment sectors and job roles, in organisations of all shapes and sizes.”