Workers on zero hours contracts have similar levels of job satisfaction and work-life balance as full time employees, according to a new report. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said its study also showed that zero hours employees were more likely to want to work additional hours.

The TUC said the research was not representative as it was only among 300 workers on zero hours contracts, and 150 on short contracts.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “Zero hours contracts are becoming a permanent feature of the UK labour market, but they are often characterised as offering low quality work on unfair terms which is inferior to permanent, full-time contracts.

“Our research shows that zero hours contracts employees don’t always see their jobs in such a negative light. On average, they find their jobs as satisfying as other employees which suggests that zero hours contracts offer positives as well as negatives.

“One positive is the flexibility they can offer to employees who otherwise may not be able to find work that suits them, but less involvement in the workplace may be a negative. That’s why it’s important to understand that this type of working arrangement may not suit everyone.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is hard to draw conclusions about the experiences of all zero hours workers from a sample of just 300 people.

“Zero hours contracts do work for some people. But let’s not forget that they have been used as a way of keeping down wages and employing staff on worse terms and conditions. This is especially the case in sectors like adult social care and for younger workers.

“Today’s report must not be used as way of glossing over the problems zero-hours working can create. We’ve heard many stories of people being denied mortgages and tenancies as a result of being on these contracts and of the stress caused by not knowing how much work they will have from one day to the next.”

The number of workers on zero hours contracts has increased by almost a fifth in the last year, from 624,000 to 744,000, recent figures showed.

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