Over 5 million individuals earn less than they need to cover the cost of living in their area, with many on short-term contracts, not guaranteed a stable number of hours, or facing cancelled shifts.
Although young people are worst affected, with 22% – over a fifth – of 16-24 year olds in insecure, low-paid work, unstable and poorly paid jobs are no longer a struggle limited to new starters, with two million parents in this same situation, and nearly half of all those in insecure work over the age of 35.
People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are also more likely to experience low pay and insecurity, as are people in Wales (where one fifth of workers are affected), the north East and the West Midlands.
In response, the Living Wage Foundation has launched the Living Hours campaign, requiring participating FTSE 100 employers to pay the real Living Wage, provide at least four weeks’ notice of rotas, guarantee a minimum of 16 hours a week for each worker, and draft contracts that accurately reflect the hours a worker will be expected to put in.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Constant uncertainty over the number of hours, timings of your shifts or the amount of pay you’ll get each week places people under enormous pressure. A shift cancelled at the last minute might sound small, but it can be the difference between being able to pay for your family’s dinner that night or going hungry. And being expected to work at short notice means you can’t plan around other costs and commitments.