Zero hours contracts widespread in third sector

Zero hours contracts widespread in third sector
Third Force News

Third sector organisations employ a third of all staff on zero hours contracts, according to new research.

The third sector is twice as likely than the private sector to use the contracts that don’t guarantee staff any work at all.
The research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 3 to 4% of the UK workforce are on zero hours contracts.

The contracts, which enable companies to pay staff only when they need them, are most common in the hotel, catering and leisure industry, followed by education and healthcare.

The research found that 34% of employers using zero hours contracts were in the third sector, while 24% were in the public sector and 17% were in the private sector.

The CIPD’s latest data, part of its forthcoming 2013 Labour Market Outlook, also included a sample of 148 workers on zero hours contracts.

Of these respondents, one in seven felt that their employer gave them insufficient hours to provide a basic standard of living.

On average, they worked 19.5 hours per week – although 38% described themselves as being employed full-time, typically working 30 hours or more a week.

By age group, people employed on a zero hour contract were twice as likely to be among either the youngest workers (aged 18 to 24) or oldest workers (over 55).

Peter Cheese, the CIPD’s chief executive, said: “There does need to be a closer look at what is meant by a zero hours contract, the different forms that they take, and clearer guidance on what good and bad practice in their use looks like.”

“For some this may be a significant disadvantage where they need more certainty in their working hours and earnings, and we need to ensure that proper support for employees and their rights are not being compromised through such arrangements. Zero hours contracts cannot be used simply to avoid an employer’s responsibilities to its employees.”