Calls to ban zero hour contracts have been renewed after research found a third of workers are given less than a week’s notice of their shifts – a figure that rises to half for low-paid workers.
The precariousness of work in the UK is highlighted in the new study by the Living Wage Foundation, which also found more than 20 per cent of people have had their work shifts cancelled unexpectedly, the vast majority without receiving their full pay.
Predictable working hours are often necessary to plan childcare arrangements, with nearly one in five of those who have experienced short shift notice periods or shift cancellations saying they were forced to pay higher childcare costs as a result.
At the most extreme end, eight per cent of all working adults received less than 24 hours’ notice of their work schedule, the research conducted by Survation found.
The instability also forces shift workers to increase their reliance on credit to compensate for unexpected drops in income. According to research conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), more than one million people are on zero hour contracts, meaning there is no guarantee on the amount of work they will receive week to week.
The number of people on such contracts has increased compared to 2020, with Black and Asian women twice as likely to be on zero hour contracts than white men.