Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth

25 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2020

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1, 2020

Abstract

This article studies the prevalence and nature of zero hours contracts (ZHCs) in the UK labour market. It is widely argued that the headline count of ZHC workers based on the Labour Force Survey historically underestimated the number of workers in ZHC jobs. Here, we argue that this likely continues to be the case, particularly if one considers other, similar, no‐guaranteed‐hours jobs alongside ZHCs. ZHC jobs and workers are heterogeneous, but ZHCs 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. The most common prior labour market state for ZHC workers is non‐ZHC employment, particularly part‐time employment, with part of the reported growth in ZHCs driven by reclassification of existing employment relationships. Finally, we show that growth in public awareness of ZHCs contributed substantially to recent growth in reported ZHCs, particularly over the period 2013/14.

Suggested Citation

Farina, Egidio and Green, Colin P. and McVicar, Duncan, Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth (September 1, 2020). British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 58, Issue 3, pp. 507-531, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3686666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjir.12512

Egidio Farina (Contact Author)

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

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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