Zero Hours Contracts Cost in Stress

Let’s talk about stress. And let’s talk about statistics. According to the government’s Health and Safety Executive, illness cost the UK economy £9.3 billion in 2015. And according to BMG Research, one third of days off through illness are as a direct result of pressure or stress at work.

–  75% of days taken off work through illness by health professionals are due to stress.

–  Mental health costs the UK £70bn per year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP (OECD).

–  Mental ill-health costs each employer £1,035 per staff, per year.

–  There are 15.2m sick days per year due to stress, anxiety or depression.

–  Failure to unlock discretionary effort costs UK business £6bn (BUPA). 

–  Only 2 in 5 employees are working at peak performance (CIPD).

According to a further study of young people in the UK, of those born between 1989 and 1990, 5% are on zero hours contracts. And of those 5%, 50% are more likely to suffer from poor mental health than those on solid contracts.

In regards to causes, the predominant reasons for work related stress from the Labour Force Survey was workload, in particular tight deadlines, too much work or too much pressure or responsibility.

So what can employers do to actually support their younger employees on zero hours contracts?

Keep Them Updated

Employees on zero-hour contracts need to be included in communications about things like team meetings, training days and staff trips. This will help contractors to feel valued and deliver a sense of inclusion.


Young employees need clear guidelines and strong support that will help them keep on top of their workload.


Make sure that the perks of working with your business filter down to your contractors. This will help them feel engaged with your company.

Take Interest in Them

They may not be in your office all the time, but try and take the time to show a genuine interest in your staff. Ask how they’re doing, and how they’re coping with their work.

Be Aware of Stress Levels

Look out for any symptoms that an employee might be suffering from stress. If you spot them, try and talk to them about how they’re feeling and offer any help you can to them.

With such a large impact to businesses, it’s easy to overlook the impact to the individual. It is your responsibility as the employer to keep stress levels in check and workloads reasonable.

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