Love or Hate – Zero Hours contracts seem here to stay

9th March 2016

Yet again the debate about zero hours contracts has made national headlines, with the number of workers, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) rising by 15% in late 2015 and now standing at 801,000, representing 2.5% of the workforce.

With the Prime Minister indicating that he couldn’t himself live with a zero hours contract – one that doesn’t guarantee a minimum number of hours – it is surprising that zero hours contracts seem as buoyant as ever, with no suggestion that they will decline. Indeed, the recent rise suggests that, as an employment tool, zero hours contracts are now embedded.

38% of zero hour contracts are held by 16- to 24-year-old, with nearly a quarter of young people using the zero hour contracts flexibly to support their full time education.

If zero hour contracts are here to stay, and indeed become more of a mainstream part of everyday employment, this could present challenges for payroll teams. Analysis of the company payroll going forward will become even more strategic with more emphasis on understanding how payroll can influence HR decisions on staffing and recruitment, cashflow, and ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

If a payroll team is under pressure now this fundamental shift, together with the looming impact of the Living Wage, could make life very difficult.