Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

  • Only 25% say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts
  • More than half are thinking about quitting their jobs
  • Government should ban zero-hours contracts, says TUC

Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice, new TUC polling has revealed today (Monday).

The poll shows that two-thirds (66%) of zero-hours workers would rather have a contract with guaranteed hours. And just one in four zero-hours workers (25%) say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts.

The survey shows that the main reason people are on zero-hours contracts is because it is the only type of work available to them. More than half of zero-hours workers (53%) are thinking about quitting their job over the coming year.

Rights at work:

The polling found that many zero-hours workers are missing out on basic rights at work:

  • Only 1 in 8 (12%) say they get sick pay.
  • Only 1 in 14 (7%) would get redundancy pay.
  • Two-fifths (43%) say they don’t get holiday pay.
  • Half (47%) say they do not get written terms and conditions.
  • Just 1 in 20 (5%) say they have the right to a permanent contract after working the same hours consistently.

‘Last minute working’:

The poll also reveals the ‘last minute’ nature of zero-hours working. More than half (51%) of zero-hours workers have had shifts cancelled at less than 24 hours’ notice. And nearly three-quarters (73%) have been offered work at less than 24 hours’ notice.

Making ends meet:

Most zero-hours contract workers (59%) want more hours. The majority (54%) say they find it difficult to pay bills because they can’t get enough work. But any requests for additional shifts are as likely to be rejected as accepted.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) of zero-hours workers say they wouldn’t be able to cope with an unexpected bill of £500.

The TUC says the government should clamp down on zero-hours working in its forthcoming response to the Taylor Review.

The TUC estimates that zero-hours working costs the exchequer £1.9bn a year. This is because zero-hours contract workers earn significantly less than regular employees and therefore:

  • pay less tax,
  • pay less national insurance,
  • are more reliant on tax credits.

Median pay for a zero-hours worker is a third (£3.50) less an hour than for an average employee.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice. They’d much rather have the security of guaranteed hours and the same rights as employees.

“The so-called ‘flexibility’ these contracts offer is one-sided. Many zero-hours workers have shifts cancelled at the last minute. And lots are struggling to make ends meet.

“Now’s the time for the government to ban zero-hours contracts, as they have done in other countries like New Zealand. Every job should be a great job – but far too many workers in the UK are being treated like disposable labour.”