Research Report

Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality

This information is available for download

Format Title File size

Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality

Published November 2013

File size:
1730 KB

Download the 'Zero-hours contracts: myth and reality' pdf 1730 KB, zero-hours-contracts_2013-myth-reality.pdf. Opens in a new window.

About this download

The issue of zero-hours contracts has been the subject of widespread political debate and generated a mass of media headlines over the last few months. This report sets out the debate and explores the issues using research based data from the Labour Market Outlook, produced in partnership with SuccessFactors, an SAP company and the Employee Outlook, produced in partnership with Halogen.

The debate has centred around two main issues:
  • What are the rights and wrongs of zero-hours working? Are they a way of employers reducing their labour costs and retaining maximum flexibility in a time of economic uncertainty at the expense of job and financial security on the part of the individual?

    Or do they provide flexibility that works for both the employer and the individual, enabling organisations to respond to peaks and troughs in demand and people to manage caring responsibilities, study, improve their work–life balance or to downshift from fulltime work as they move more flexibly into retirement?
  • How many people are really engaged on zero-hours contracts in the UK and to what extent are their numbers increasing?

The report includes recommendations for employers, government and policy makers and also sets out the CIPD case for good practice.

"The context for zero-hours working is a long-term trend towards more flexible
and diverse forms of work capable of meeting the needs of employers and individuals."

Contents of the report
  • Foreword
  • Executive summary
  • Overview
  • The extent and use of zero-hours contracts
  • Job satisfaction, job quality and engagement
  • Conclusions
  • Methodology  

View the policy report: Zero-hours and short-hours contracts in the UK: employer and employee perspectives

View the guide: Zero-hours contracts: understanding the law

Outlook series

Draws on a range of perspectives and offers unique insight and commentary on workplace issues.