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Insight

Higher job satisfaction for workers on zero-hours contracts

28/11/2013
The chief executive of the CIPD has stated that "the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK has been over estimated, under simplified and unfairly demonised". After undertaking a survey of more than The chief executive of the CIPD has stated that "the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK has been over estimated, under simplified and unfairly demonised". After undertaking a survey of more than 2,500 workers, the CIPD has this week released a report, Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality, on zero-hours contracts. The survey found that:

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

  • 52% of zero-hours workers would not like to work more hours than they do in a typical week;  

  • 44% of zero-hours workers say they are satisfied or very satisfied with having no minimum set contracted hours; and

  • 80% of zero-hours workers say they are never penalised for not being available for work.


According to the CIPD, there are however areas of poor practice amongst some employers, including almost half of zero hours workers receiving no notice (40%) or finding out at the start of their shift (6%) that work has been cancelled. Few employers make any contractual provision or have a formal policy outlining their approach to arranging (32%) and cancelling work (34%) for zero-hours workers. Furthermore, one in five zero hours workers say they are sometimes (17%) or always (3%) penalised if they are not available for work. 

In spite of such examples of poor practice, the survey found that where zero-hours contracts are used for the right reasons and people on such contracts are managed in the right way, the working arrangement provides the flexibility that suits both organisations and individuals. The primary driver behind the use of zero-hours contracts is the flexibility such contracts provide and in particular, for individuals, the preference for such contracts is the flexible working they allow to suit their individual circumstances.

The CIPD considers that poor practice should be addressed to help employers understand how to use zero-hours contracts within the law rather than restricting their use through regulation. The CIPD has published a good practice guide on managing and the use of zero-hours contracts. Both the report, and the good practice guide, are available on the CIPD website here. If you require any advice on this particular issue, please contact our team.

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