Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that UK businesses have increasingly been making use of zero-hours contracts, with a reported 6% rise in their usage.
The ONS research reveals that businesses used 1.5 million zero-hours contracts during January this year in the employment of staff, compared with last year’s 1.4 million.
This is the first time that data of this kind can be directly compared to a previous point in time, the ONS stated. However, it also added that the rise in contracts is ‘not statistically significant’.
Employers using zero-hours contracts cannot guarantee a minimum number of hours of employment, although many argue that the use of such contracts provides greater flexibility in working patterns.
Zero-hours contracts have, however, proved controversial: earlier this year, the Labour party promised to ban them if they won the general election.
Data from the ONS also reveals that there has been a rise in the number of people employed on zero-hours contracts.
The organisation estimates that 744,000 people employed between the months of April and June 2015 were on zero-hours contracts – up from 624,000 from the same period a year earlier.