There has been much debate and controversy recently in the media and in political circles about the use of zero hours contracts, whether they constitute fair employment terms or even if organisations are acting legally when offering such a contract. Although these contracts have been around for a long time particularly in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, their use has grown over the last few years, extending to social care, education and even to government departments and local councils. Some of Britain’s largest employers, including JD Wetherspoon, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s, offer zero hours contracts.
Public opinion is divided on the use of zero hours contracts with some condemning them, but not all employees feel unjustly treated and many employers use the contracts legally. However, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) approximately a third of people on these contracts would like to work more hours. Those more likely to agree to them include women, students in full-time education or working part-time and those aged under 25 or 65 and over.