New figures reveal 1.4m workers on zero-hour contracts in the UK

THE NUMBER of people employed on so-called zero-hour contracts is far higher than previously thought, according to statistics released yesterday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) now estimates there are 1.4m people at work in the UK who are not provided with a minimum number of hours. Earlier this year, the group said the number was just 538,000.

The new figures also show that most people on the contracts, under which a minimum number of hours is not guaranteed, are happy with the amount of work provided: two thirds said that they would not like to be given more hours.

Workers using the contracts are more likely to be female, and more likely to be part-time than full-time. By age, a third are under 24, as opposed to around a tenth of workers whose hours are specified.

The ONS says the new estimate, which is based on employers’ responses rather than employees, offers a different perception.