Workers on zero-hours contracts earn hundreds of pounds a week less than permanent staff, new research has revealed today.
A study by the TUC showed that average weekly earnings for zero-hours workers are almost £300 lower at £188 compared to £479 for those on permanent contracts.
Women on zero-hours contracts earn £32 a week less than men on average. Only a quarter work a full-time week and one in three have no regular amount of income, the TUC added.
The research, taken from the Labour Force Survey, also revealed that zero-hours workers are five times more likely not to qualify for statutory sick pay than permanent staff.
Two fifths of zero-hours
workers earn less than £111 a week — the qualifying threshold for statutory sick pay — compared to one in 12 permanent employees.
The study, published to mark the start of the TUC’s Decent Jobs Week, is aimed at drawing attention to the millions of people “trapped” on low pay and in insecure work.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The growth of zero-hours contracts, along with other forms of precarious employment, is one of the main reasons why working people have seen their living standards worsen significantly in recent years.
“It is shocking that so many workers employed on these kinds of contracts are on poverty pay and miss out on things that most of us take for granted, like sick pay.”
She warned that Britain will continue to have a two-tier workforce where many are stuck in in-work poverty if the government does not create more well-paid jobs with regular hours.
“The increase in casual labour also helps explain why income tax revenues are falling — which is not only bad for our public finances but for society too,” she added.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna pointed out that half of people living in poverty today are in work.
He said: “Under the Tory-led government, we’ve seen zero-hours contracts — which were once a niche and marginal feature of the labour market — becoming the norm in parts of our economy.”
The study was published ahead of the latest unemployment figures due to be released on Wednesday.