When Work Won't Pay: In-work poverty in the UK | Working Poor

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 37
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Information Report
Category:

Others

Published:

Views: 3 | Pages: 37

Extension: PDF | Download: 0

Share
Related documents
Description
For the past 30 years, the political consensus has held that work is the best route out of poverty. Yet more than four million of the 13.5 million people who live in poverty in the UK are working. There is clearly a contradiction between the consensus and the reality. This paper is a discussion of some of the issues that Oxfam’s work in this area has revealed. Oxfam will seek with others to identify what solutions could help us all achieve our ambition of decent work for everyone. Our ambition for a world without poverty is one with decent work
Transcript
  www.oxfam.org.uk Oxfam Discussion Papers When Work Won’t Pay   In-work poverty in the UK Krisnah Poinasamy Oxfam GB November 2011 Oxfam Discussion Papers Oxfam Discussion Papers are written to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanita rian policy issues. They are ‟work in progress‟ documents, and do not necessarily constitute final publications or reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views and recommendations expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Oxfam. For more information, or to comment on this paper, email kpoinasamy@oxfam.org.uk      When Work Won’t Pay  ,  Oxfam Discussion Paper, November 2011 2 Contents   Summary ........................................................................................................................... 4   The case for action ............................................................................................................ 4   The causes of in-work poverty ....................................................................................... 5   Discussion ......................................................................................................................... 5   1. Oxfam and in-work poverty ...................................................................................... 7   2. The case for action on in-work poverty .................................................................. 9   Child poverty .................................................................................................................... 9   Health inequalities ........................................................................................................... 9   Effect on families and communities ............................................................................ 10   The cost to business ....................................................................................................... 10   3. The causes of in-work poverty ............................................................................... 12   Background trends: globalisation and the response of government employment policies ..................................................................................................................... 12   The response of government policies ....................................................................... 13   The key causes of in-work poverty .............................................................................. 14   A. Who you are ............................................................................................................ 15   B. Low pay: from one trap to the next ...................................................................... 16   C. Inadequate social protection ................................................................................. 17   D. Inadequate labour rights ....................................................................................... 20   F. Lack of labour rights enforcement ........................................................................ 21   G. Lack of responsible employment ......................................................................... 23   4. Pro-poor policy responses: discussion .................................................................. 24   1. Work should pay enough to live on ........................................................................ 24   The Living Wage .......................................................................................................... 24   Long-term uprating of the National Minimum Wage ........................................... 25      When Work Won’t Pay  ,  Oxfam Discussion Paper, November 2011 3 Restructuring of labour market rewards .................................................................. 25   2. Provision of adequate social protection .................................................................. 26   Higher earnings disregard ......................................................................................... 26   Gender-sensitive social protection ............................................................................ 26   Sustainable work must be accompanied by a rebuilding of non-financial assets ................................................................................................................................ 27   3. Ensuring adequate labour rights and that labour rights are effectively enforced ................................................................................................................................... 27   Reduce precarious employment contracts ............................................................... 28   Right to request flexible working .............................................................................. 28   Employment Tribunals ............................................................................................... 29   Protection from unfair dismissal ............................................................................... 29   Effective labour rights enforcement .......................................................................... 29   4. Ensure adequate progression –   reducing the gap between ‘good’ jobs and ‘bad’  jobs ............................................................................................................................ 30   Work-based training ................................................................................................... 30   Training outside the workplace ................................................................................. 31   Support in seeking employment ............................................................................... 31   Notes ................................................................................................................................ 33      When Work Won’t Pay  ,  Oxfam Discussion Paper, November 2011 4 Summary For the past 30 years, the political consensus has held that work is the best route out of poverty. And yet more than four million of the 13.5 million people who live in poverty in the UK are working. There is clearly a contradiction between the consensus and the reality. This paper is a discussion of some of the issues that Oxfam’s work in this area has revealed. It is not a comprehensive overview nor does it list policy solutions. Instead it is a contribution to the emerging debate that is challenging the consensus, and Oxfam will seek with others to identify what solutions could help us all achieve our ambition of decent work for everyone. Our ambition for a world without poverty is one with decent work; work that serves the needs of people, communities, and the economy. Decent work means that everyone has an adequate and stable income; everyone is protected from exploitation; and everyone has security and power over their own lives through fair labour rights. The case for action Work is invaluable for individuals in terms of providing purpose, dignity, and, crucially, an income, enabling them to support themselves and their families. But although work has been advocated as a route out of poverty, for many it does not provide economic independence and may actually damage their health and well-being. Work is also invaluable to UK society: poor-quality work means an increase in the costs of supporting people, lost opportunities for development, and lost revenues in terms of taxation and profit , and it damages the country’s social networks. The social impacts are huge –  for example child poverty, which leads to poorer educational and health outcomes. Over 55 per cent of children living in poverty in the UK live in a household where at least one adult is working; to meet the legally binding child poverty targets, policy makers must act quickly to overcome in-work poverty. Poor-quality work also leads to poor health for adults, so that moving people from benefits to health-damaging work merely shifts the balance of public spending and cannot be a long-term solution to reducing costs. Finally, the cost to business and to the economy is significant, with more fragile domestic demand as millions of people are simply unable to afford goods and services. Businesses that provide decent work have reported lower staff turnover and higher levels of loyalty, better employee morale, lower costs (e.g. sick pay), and higher productivity, while businesses paying below the Living Wage cost society between £5.9bn and £6.3bn a year in extra benefit payments and lost taxation –   effectively a form of ‘corporate welfare’. The  blatant underuse and underdevelopment of the skills, energy, ideas, and talents of large sections of the population are missed opportunities to harness these capabilities to foster development and economic growth.
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks