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Latest research has revealed that zero-hours contract workers have a better work-life balance compared to other workers.

The CIPD report – ‘Zero-hours contracts – Evolution and current status’, shows that the number of workers on these contracts hasn’t changed much in the last seven years and currently makes up just three per cent of employment in the UK.

According to the figures, just 18% of employers use zero-hours contract workers and they’re most often used in the hospitality and entertainment industries and the voluntary sector.

Interestingly, as well as these types of workers reporting (on average) a better work-life balance, they are also under less stress at work compared to other workers and are less likely to report excessive workloads.

The CIPD research also found that they are more likely than other workers to think their work has a positive effect on their physical and mental health wellbeing.

However, there are some negatives reported, such as hourly pay being slightly lower, feeling pressure to take on all the hours offered to them (just 57% of employers of zero-hours contract workers give them the right to turn down work) and not being compensated for shifts that are cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.

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Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said, “People’s experience of zero-hours work varies widely depending on their individual circumstances and how they are managed. Many people benefit from this very flexible way of working, and in return, are prepared to make some trade-offs in other areas of job quality.

“In contrast, some find the flexibility of these working arrangements mainly favours the employer. For example, where they are put under some pressure to accept hours or have shifts cancelled with little or no notice, and without compensation. These sorts of practices are unacceptable and need to be tackled.

“However, simply banning zero-hours contracts would disadvantage the majority of those workers for whom they provide genuine two-way flexibility, and in some cases could limit access to employment altogether. The nuanced and mixed picture of both the benefits and downsides of zero-hours contracts set out in our report suggests it is time for a more balanced debate about their place in the labour market.

“There is also a need to ensure that insecure and low paid workers more broadly benefit from additional financial support by government over the coming months, to help them deal with the cost of living crisis.”

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