Why zero-hours contracts are a good thing

Plain-speaking Economics

The news that the number of people working on zero-hours contracts has risen to a new record high has prompted fresh calls for a ban. If you’re employed on one of these contracts and like it, tough. How on earth did we come to this?

To recap, a ‘zero-hours contract’ is simply a form of employment that does not guarantee a certain amount of work every week. Casual labour is of course nothing new, and at least part of the longer-term growth in the number of people saying they are on ‘zero-hours contracts’ probably reflects increased familiarity with the new term.

This flexibility is good for employers because it allows them to match supply to fluctuating demand, especially in sectors such as health and social work, education, hospitality, or delivery driving, where demand can be erratic.

However, this flexibility is also welcomed by many employees. People do not have…

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