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Number of low-paid workers across Britain hits record high

Categories: Articles:Social Justice | Published: 03/11/2014 | Views: 1138
The proportion of employees in low-paid work across Britain increased from 21 to 22 per cent last year - to just over five million people - a Resolution Foundation report has revealed. Low Pay Britain 2014, the Resolution Foundation's annual audit of low pay across Britain, finds that the number of people earning less than two-thirds of median hourly pay, equivalent to £7.69 an hour, rose to 5.2 million, an increase of 250,000 on the previous year. (Ekklesia)

The increase in the absolute number in low pay in part reflects the rapid growth in the jobs market, with the number of employees rising by around 340,000 between April 2012 and April 2013. 

But the research shows that the proportion of employees earning less than £7.69 an hour rose slightly, reversing a small improvement in the previous year. With the economy recovering, the report will send a challenge to employers, government and all political parties to prevent people getting stuck in low pay and help them to move out of in-work poverty. The report also highlights that:

* The ‘stickiness’ of low paid work is a serious problem. Almost one in four minimum wage employees who have been in work over the last five years have been stuck on the minimum rate for the entire time.

* Women are still far more likely to be low-paid than men. More than one-in-four (27 per cent) female employees earned less than £7.69 an hour last year, compared with 17 per cent of men. This gap has slowly but steadily narrowed over the last three decades. Back in 1983, one-in-three (33 per cent) women were low paid, compared with eight per cent of men. However, the steady decline in the proportion of women in low paid work halted last year (rising by one percentage point).

* The UK has among the highest proportion of full-time low-paid workers across the OECD. Although the proportion remains higher in the US, employees in Britain are likelier to be low paid than those in other broadly comparable economies like Germany or Australia; twice as likely to be low-paid as workers in Switzerland; and four times as likely as those in Belgium.

Read more here                                         Read the full report here

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