Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Zero Hours Contracts

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 4th November 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people employed on zero-hour contracts in each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK in each year since 2010.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The independent Office for National Statistics (ONS) use the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to provide estimates for the number of people in employment on contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours (known as ‘zero hours’ contracts’). This data is available for the Oct-Dec quarter only for each year from 2010 to 2018 and is set out in the table below.

Table: Level and rate of people aged 16 and over on zero-hours contracts October to December each year

UK, not seasonally adjusted

Percentage of people in employment on a zero-hours contract



















Source: ONS Labour Force Survey

The estimates for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are considered precise

ONS advise that the increased media coverage of zero-hours’ contracts arrangements in the latter half of 2013 may have affected the response to this question by raising awareness of this existing type of contractual arrangement. The ONS therefore advise not to compare pre- and post-2013 data.

Data for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the English regions has been published every six months by ONS for since 2016. However, because the data is drawn from a survey, many of these sub-UK breakdowns are considered too unreliable for practical purposes. Regional data and guidance on its reliability can be found in tab 4 of table EMP17 published here:

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.