Zero hours work: facing the ethical challenge

< 1 minute read

How ethical investors can show leadership by promoting a corporate social conscience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of millions of UK workers employed on zero-hours contracts or within the gig economy. For them, self-isolation means a sudden loss of income, often without access to redundancy payments, sick-pay, or universal credit.


COVID-19 has highlighted the economic reality of working conditions for employees in insecure, precarious, low-paying, and temporary jobs. According to the Office of National Statistics, a record 974,000 people had zero-hour contracts as their main job at the end of 2019, 130,000 more than one year earlier.

The challenge to ethical investors is clear – how to encourage powerful corporations to offer fair conditions of employment for honest work?

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S Waters and Q G Rayer (2020), Zero-hours work: facing the ethical challenge, CII: The Journal,, 14 September 2020. Republished with kind permission of the Personal Finance Society.