‘Lowest paid least likely to be able to work from home’

Those who are in the lowest paid and most insecure work are the least likely to be able to work from home, says a new report.

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Those least likely to be able to work from home are often the lowest paid and need some ongoing form of basic income scheme for times when they cannot work, including transition from lockdown, according to a new report.

The report from the RSA says that while the UK is moving towards a homeworking economy, some of the fastest-growing key professions are among the least likely to be able to work from home, such as carers, nurses and drivers, roles which have been brought into focus during the pandemic. Using new Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, it has found that those who are unable to work from home tend to be paid less than those who are able to.

According to the report, those most able to work from home are likely to be highly paid and enjoy greater job stability, opportunities for progression and generous pensions. While these professions are expanding with the help of new technologies, certain ‘hi-touch’ roles such as carers are also expanding, it states. Over the past decade, a quarter of a million new roles were created in caring positions, of which just 10 percent reported that they have been able to work from home. The situation is similar for nurses, road transport drivers and elementary service occupations such as waiters or bar staff.

The analysis shows those least able to work from home tend to suffer from low wages and economic insecurity. This group includes cleaners, retail sales assistants and several low-skilled manufacturing or warehousing roles. Being unable to work puts this group at a greater risk of redundancy, furlough or catching coronavirus, says the report.

It says those who cannot work at home need a safety net for when they cannot work at all. The RSA has recently called for a temporary universal basic income for the self-employed, to get cash to people quickly during the pandemic and the exit from it. It says such a scheme could be useful for those who can’t work due to disruption such as the pandemic.  The report states: “We need to ensure that all workers can enjoy good work, regardless of whether they can work remotely.”



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