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Monday, 5th August 2013

UK: A Matter of Time - The Rise of Zero-hours Contracts

Source: Resolution Foundation (UK)

From Executive Summary:

“Zero-hours” (or occasionally “nil hours”) contracts are anything but a new phenomenon. Employment contracts of this kind have been around for many years. Yet the use of zero-hours contracts has risen sharply in recent years. According to the Office for National Statistics the number of people employed on zero-hours contracts rose from 134,000 in 2006 (0.5 per cent of the workforce) to 208,000 (0.7 per cent) in 2012.

While the clear upward trend is not in dispute there are reasons to believe that these headline figures are a substantial under-estimate of the true scale of the use of zero-hours contracts across the UK. We know, for example, that around 150,000 domiciliary care-workers alone are employed on zero-hours contracts. The true scale of zero-hours contract use is likely to be far higher than official estimates suggest because statistics relating to such contracts are likely to suffer from a significant degree of reporting error for two reasons. First, many of those working under such contracts fail to accurately self-identify themselves as doing so and second, there is widespread ignorance among those on such contracts about their contractual situation.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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