The financial gap between zero-hour workers & permanent staff

It is a common understanding that, on average, zero-hour workers take home less pay than permanent staff. However, recent research has revealed the reality of this monetary gap as reported by the BBC yesterday.

It is obvious that someone without a guaranteed amount of work hours is far more likely to take home less per week than someone who has a permanent job with a set amount of hours per week. Naturally, this would mean the average difference in take home wages would be higher for the permanent staff. Although this is indeed the case, the reality also makes clear just how much worse off zero-hour workers are on average than permanent staff.

Using statistics and information from the Office for National Statistics, the Trades Union Congress have revealed that zero-hour workers are taking home, on average, £300 less per week than permanent staff. While average weekly earnings for permanent staff are £479, zero-hour workers earn roughly £188.

Although zero-hour contracts provide workers with flexibility, it does not mean that the work they undertake is any less worthy of equal pay to relative permanent staff, especially if they actually work the same amount of hours. The TUC believes such a situation has left many zero-hour workers earning “poverty pay” and left them stuck in a difficult situation, especially economically.

Zero-hour contracts essentially allow employers to have a number of staff who they can call in for shifts whenever they need, without the need to guarantee them any hours or work in return. Furthermore, shifts for zero-hour workers can be cancelled at short notice, without recompense to the employee, and the employer is pretty much left in a powerful position over zero-hour workers. The ONS has revealed there are roughly 1.4 million workers in Britain in this situation.

Zero-hour workers are even worse off also because the TUC’s research found that zero-hours workers were five times more likely to not qualify for statutory sick pay than permanent workers. This means that employers can save more money as they do not have to worry about their zero-hour workers going off sick.

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