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Why zero-hours contract employees are as happy as full-time staff

Posted by Emma Clare

04/12/15 10:24

Original article by 

Staff on zero-hours contracts benefit from work-life balance and feel under less pressure, says CIPD


Zero-hours contract (ZHC) employees are as happy as permanent, full-time workers, a CIPD report has found.

The survey suggests that, on average, ZHC employees experience similar levels of job satisfaction, work-life balance and personal wellbeing to employees on permanent, full-time contracts, and comparable satisfaction levels in their relationship with their managers and colleagues.

However, the report also found that, while the majority of ZHC employees choose to work part-time (88%), they are more likely than part-time employees to say they would like to work additional hours, with 22% wanting more hours.

The research, which draws on data from the ONS Labour Force Survey, the CIPD’s Employee Outlook and Labour Market Outlook surveys, found that ZHC employees are more likely to say they have the right work-life balance (62% compared to 58% for all employees) and less likely to feel under excessive pressure at work every day or at least once or twice a week (32% compared to 41% for all employees).

The report also presents the first comparable data for employees on short-hour contracts (those where employees are guaranteed up to eight hours work per week). It shows that short-hours employees have an especially positive view of their situation, with 74% agreeing they have the right work-life balance and only 14% under excessive pressure at work at least once or twice a week.

The report also points to areas where there is room for improvement in how employers use zero-hours contracts. Less than half (43%) of ZHC employees feel fully or fairly well-informed about what is going on at work, compared with 56% of all employees. Also, a higher proportion of ZHC employees see fewer ways to progress and improve their skills, despite 82% of employers saying their ZHC staff are eligible for training and development.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said: “Zero-hours contracts are becoming a permanent feature of the UK labour market, but they are often characterised as offering low quality work on unfair terms which is inferior to permanent, full-time contracts. Our research shows that zero-hours contracts employees don’t always see their jobs in such a negative light.

“On average, they find their jobs as satisfying as other employees which suggests that zero-hours contract offer positives as well as negatives. One positive is the flexibility they can offer to employees who otherwise may not be able to find work that suits them, but less involvement in the workplace may be a negative. That’s why it’s important to understand that this type of working arrangement may not suit everyone.”

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