‘2m parents in low paid, insecure work’

A new survey calls for employers to boost wages and reduce job insecurity.

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Two million parents are in insecure work and earning less than the real Living Wage – an independently calculated rate which takes into account what employees and their families need to live, according to a new report.

The Living Wage Foundation says over 5 million (5.1m) workers earn less than the voluntary real Living Wage and are in a form of insecure work, two million of whom are parents.

It says Wales, the North East and the West Midlands have the highest rates of low paid, insecure work, with Scotland, the South East and London the lowest. The survey estimates that over a fifth (21%) of the working population in Wales experiences low paid, insecure work, compared to 18% in the North East, 15% in London and 13% in Scotland.

The Real Living Wage differs from the government’s National Living Wage which is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. The hourly NLW is £8.21 for over-25s, compared to £9 for the Real Living Wage [£10.55 in London].

The Living Wage Foundation has  launched Living Hours with FTSE 100 employers which aims to  provide workers with guaranteed shift patterns and a minimum number of hours. It will require organisations to pay the real Living Wage and commit to providing workers with at least four weeks’ notice of shifts, a contract that accurately reflects hours worked and a contract with a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week. Organisations that agree to these measures will be accredited as Living Hours employers alongside their Living Wage accreditation.

The announcement comes as new research commissioned by the Living Wage Foundation has revealed that one in six, or around 5 million workers, are in low paid, insecure forms of work, including short-term contracts, and contracts with unpredictable pay and hours.

Its survey also found that over a fifth (22%) of workers aged 16-24 are in low paid, insecure work and that, in most types of insecure work measured, young people are worst affected. Nevertheless, it says nearly half of employed people (46%) experiencing insecurity and low pay at work are over the age of 35.  Moreover, 15% of white people in work are experiencing low pay and insecurity in comparison to 17% of workers from mixed/multiple ethnic groups, 17% of Asian/Asian British workers and 17% of Black/African/Caribbean/Black British workers.

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