I’m not sure exactly how long zero-hours contracts have been around, but their sudden ascent to the front pages suggest this is a phrase that has found its place in history in 2013.
The contracts, which basically offer no guarantee of hours or pay to those employed on them, have been getting wider coverage over the last few months.
However, a new report that suggests that one million people are employed on such contracts has elevated the word to the top of public consciousness, suggesting it may prove to be a political hot potato for all parties over the next few months. It is certainly a term that we are not going to be able to avoid for the forseeable future and is a linguistically neat way of describing a very particular set of circumstances. Or is it too neat, and kind of spirits away the difficulties faced by people on these contracts in a simple phrase. The term potentially masks the reality of the issues.
Either way, expect to see it jostling near the top of words of the year lists at the end of 2013.