Zero Hour Contract Case Study

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After the global financial crisis in 1970s, British labour market experienced a great shift in the organization and the new distribution of human resources during the 1980s (Hughes and Fergusson, 2004:95). It is undeniable that this economic recession had brought huge challenges to British economic development. The managers of organizations realized the significance of rising to the occasion in order to remain competitive power, which resulted in the emergence of flexible time work systems (ibid: 96). More specifically, zero-hour contracts have been applied. Pardey (2013:6) points out that zero-hour contracts are labour contracts between employers and employees which offer uncertain work and unfixed working hours. According to Tovey (2013),…show more content…
The reason is that this kind of contracts can provide employees with workplace and schedule flexibility and improve the workers’ motivation by reducing work-family conflict and psychological pressure (Hill et al, 2010:357). The contracts are particularly beneficial to married employees with children. For example, a mother who works in a company with rigid management and fixed working hours would be worried about her child when the child suddenly feels uncomfortable at school. However, she also needs her income to support her family life. In this way, it would make her stressful about whether leaving work to take care of her child or not. As a consequence, she would have less motivation to concentrate on her work which would reduce the work efficiency to some extent. By contrast, both Lu et al (2008:10) and Hill et al (2010:356) suggest that workers who are employed on theses flexible contracts have the flexibility to take personal leave to meet the demand of their family or even when they become exhausted because of heavy workload. This way of working could keep a balance between work and life and reduce work-family conflicts at the same time. As the Tovey (2013) states, workers with no fixing working hours are almost twice as likely to feel satisfied (47%) as the dissatisfied (27%). Moreover, they could still come back to work with more passion after break which…show more content…
Taking into account all these features, we could conclude that the advantages of zero-hour contracts far out weigh the disadvantages. In the future, they may play an increasingly significant role in British labour market with the improvement of corresponding protection system.


Dawson, G. (2004).Work: from certainty to flexibility. In Hughes, G. and Fergusson, R. (Ed.), 2nd, Ordering lives: family work and welfare. (95-103). London: Routledge in association with the Open University.
Green, C. and Leeves, G. (2013). Job Security, Financial Security and Worker Well-being: New Evidence on the Effects of Flexible Employment. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 60(2), 121-138.

Hill, E.J., Erickson, J.J., Holmes, E.K. and Ferris, M. (2010). Workplace flexibility, work hours, and work-life conflict: Finding an extra day or two. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(3),

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