Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth

39 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Egidio Farina

Egidio Farina

Queen's University Belfast

Colin P. Green

Department of Economics

Duncan McVicar

Queen's University Belfast; Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

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Abstract

This paper studies the prevalence and nature of zero-hours contracts (ZHCs) in the UK labour market. The headline count of ZHC workers based on the Labour Force Survey has long underestimated and continues to underestimate the number of workers in ZHC or ZHC-like jobs. ZHC jobs and workers are heterogeneous, but ZHC jobs have become increasingly concentrated among young workers, full-time students, migrants, black and minority ethnic workers, in personal service and elementary occupations, and in the distribution, accommodation and restaurant sector over time. Compared to other forms of employment, median wages in ZHC jobs have also fallen over time.The most common prior labour market state for ZHC workers is non-ZHC employment, particularly part-time employment, and we cannot reject that part of the reported growth in ZHCs has been driven by reclassification of existing employment relationships. Similarly, we cannot reject that growth in public awareness of ZHCs contributed substantially to recent growth in reported ZHCs, particularly over the period 2013/14.

Keywords: zero hours contracts, no guaranteed hours contracts, casual work, precarious employment, atypical employment

JEL Classification: J21, J48, M55

Suggested Citation

Farina, Egidio and Green, Colin P. and McVicar, Duncan, Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12291, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390281

Egidio Farina

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Colin P. Green

Department of Economics ( email )

Høgskoleringen
Trondheim NO-7491, 7491
Norway

Duncan McVicar (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

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