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Managing my money for young adults
Managing my money for young adults

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2 Zero-hours contracts – good or bad?

Zero-hours contracts have featured heavily in UK media recently. Hundreds of thousands of people, particularly workers aged 16–21, are on these ‘casual’ working contracts. But is the so-called gig economy really useful to younger workers – particularly if they’re still in education – or is it seriously bad news?

In the video Bobby seagull talks to Jonquil Lowe about zero-hours contracts.

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Activity 2  Zero-hours contracts: the positives and negatives

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Do you have an opinion of the pros and cons of being on a zero-hours contract? The amount you can earn is clearly an important consideration. What other issues make these contracts very different from more regular employment?

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The benefit of a zero-hours contract is the flexibility to change the number of hours you work. This could help you fit the work around your other commitments. For example, as you approach exam time in the early summer months you might want to scale back your working hours to focus on revision. After the exams are over you might want to take on more hours again.

The big disadvantage of a zero-hours contract is that the employer can decide whether you get any work at all. They might not have hours available when you want to work. Or they might become difficult with you when you turn down the hours they want you to work.

Another major disadvantage is that you’re unlikely to have any rights to sick pay or holiday pay.