Northern Ireland news

16,000 people in north employed on zero hours contracts

Around 16,000 people are employed on zero hours contracts, which offer no guarantee of work or pay each week

AN estimated 16,000 people in Northern Ireland are employed on 'zero hours' contracts.

Zero hours contracts do not provide workers with a fixed number of hours and have been criticised as offering no job security or career advancement.

Last year employment minister Stephen Farry said their use would not be banned in the north, and suggested that around 28,000 people were affected.

But in response to several written questions from MLAs, finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said here are an estimated 16,000 employees on zero hours contracts as their main job.

The Sinn Féin MLA said a further breakdown by age or constituency was not available.

"The Labour Force Survey estimates that there were 16,000 individuals here employed on a zero hours... however, due to sample size constraints this estimate has a large statistical margin of error, limiting its reliability."

Last month it emerged that the number of workers on zero hours contracts across the UK had increased by a fifth over the past 12 months.

Just over 900,000 people said they work on a zero-hours basis in their main job - up from 747,000 a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.

An estimated 3 per cent of the UK's total workforce is employed on zero hours contracts, with women making up 55 per cent of that total, while one in five is in full-time education.

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