Penningtons Manches

UK 200 2014 position: 60

Education Update — May 2014: zero-hours contracts — an update

By Hilary Aldred

The House of Commons recently published a note relating to zero-hours contracts, which underlined that while it was unclear to what extent they were being used, estimates had put the number at slightly more than one million by the end of 2013, increasing to 1.4 million last month. The Higher Education Statistics Agency does not collect data on zero-hours contracts as such, but its figures for 2012–13 indicate that there are approximately 110,000 staff, both academic and non-academic, employed on such contracts.

Opinion on the use of zero-hours contracts is mixed, but they are prevalent in the higher and further education sectors. The House of Commons note does not set out guidance on whether the contracts should be regulated or banned. However, there is likely to be an employer-led code of practice following the consultation, which closed on 13 March 2014.

In general, a contract is one where an employee has no set hours but is paid for the time when he or she is actually at work. This is easy to assess for teaching hours but less clear for other hours worked in order to deliver the teaching. Zero-hours can also, however, refer to a contract for services that offers no continuity of service between short-term employment assignments such as termly teaching contracts. This second type of contract is also common within the higher and further education sphere. In either case the main similarity is that the employer need not provide any work at all to the individual at any time and as such allows the employer the benefit of a flexible workforce…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Penningtons Manches briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.


Abacus House
33 Gutter Lane

Turnover (£m): 46.60
No. of lawyers: 252