The number of zero hours contracts in the UK rose by around 100,000 to 1.8m last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Women are more likely to do zero hours than men. Alan Price, Employment Law Director at HR consultancy Peninsula, said that the numbers were subject to fluctuation for a number of reasons, including student numbers and uncertain economic conditions.
But he said numbers could also fall if the government introduces a new right to request a stable contract as part of their response to the Taylor Review.
He said: “Employers may be put off using flexible contracts because of the new ‘right to request’ as they may become confused about the process or believe they will now have to give all workers guaranteed hours when they ask for it. Although the details around this new right are unconfirmed because of an ongoing consultation, it does appear that there will be no right to receive a fixed hours contract but merely to make a request. Before the impact of this right is known, employers may delay employing more individuals on zero-hours contracts and, if the right is onerous on employers, they may reconsider their contractual arrangements.”