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Zero hours workers pass the 900,000 mark

03 March 2017

With 105,000 more people employed on zero hours contracts in 2016, compared with the same period in 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports this as a 14% increase.

Compared with the same period two years prior to the study, the increase is 30% higher and it has risen from just 100,000 in 2005.

However, the ONS has also advised that the rate of increase was just 0.8% in the second half of last year.

A number of reasons for the slow down have been proposed by the BBC, including the tendency for employees to be more demanding about their contracts as the UK employment market reaches record high levels.

There has also been a slowing in the numbers of new jobs created and another potential reason is identified as business reputation.

The latter is posed following adverse publicity for zero hours contracts at companies such as Sports Direct, with a number of high profile companies either moving away from these or offering alternatives.

Half of the most recent increase is accounted for by workers aged 55-64 and thought to be favoured for providing a transition between full-time work and retirement.

Discussions are continuing on both zero hours contracts and the gig economy, with the government expressing concerns over loss of tax revenue and the resulting rise in benefits claims from workers.

With the Chancellor's Budget due next week, there is conjecture that this will see tax increases for self-employed and those on zero hours contracts.

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