The number of workers on zero-hours contracts has risen 15% to 801,000, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

At present 2.5% of the UK’s workforce are employed under the controversial terms, and the number of zero-hours contracts stands at 1.7 million.

Fewer retailers used zero-hours in November 2015 than in May 2015. In May, 10% of retailers used the terms while in November that figure was around 8%. The ONS added however that these figures could be affected by seasonal issues.

Zero-hours have long been an issue in retail, with retailers such as Sports Direct coming under fire for use of such contracts.

The ONS said that women, young people and those in full-time education were more likely to be on zero-hours contracts.

Zero-hours workers clock up an average 26 hours per week. More than one-third (37%) of zero-hours workers want more hours, compared to 10% of the overall working population. Most want more hours in the current role, as opposed to more hours in a new role.

The total number of zero-hours contracts and the percentage of overall contracts that are zero-hours has stayed relatively static from January 2014 until now.

However the percentage of business making “some use” of the contracts shrunk from 13% in January 2014 to 10% in November 2015. In August 2014, January 2015 and May 2015 that figure was at 11%, demonstrating a gradual decrease over nearly two years.