A 2023 report from The Resolution Foundation inspects the state of low pay in Britain, workers earning the minimum wage and what implications are for them and the economy. After a decade and a half of economic decline, the report makes the case for the a new economic strategy in the UK that puts good work at its heart. This is essential for shared prosperity, a stronger society, and a more democratic country.
Currently, too many low-paid workers do not have good jobs. Their job satisfaction is low, they are often treated with disrespect, and they lack many of the benefits that higher earners take for granted. A good jobs strategy must go beyond simply raising the minimum wage. It must also address issues such as job security, dignity at work, and access to benefits. It must also be willing to make trade-offs, such as higher prices for some goods and services, in order to create better jobs for everyone.
Good work is not just an end in itself. It is also a means to achieving wider economic goals, such as increased productivity and innovation. A good jobs strategy must be an integral part of any economic plan for the UK.
Too many low-paying jobs do not offer good work, and job satisfaction among low earners has fallen
In a new survey of 2,000 private-sector employees, more than half (56 per cent) of those earning less than £20,000 per year said that if they had to miss work for a day due to a family emergency then they wouldn’t be paid – five times the rate among workers earning above £60,000 (12 per cent).
Minimum standards in the UK often lag other rich countries
Statutory maternity and sick pay are lower in the UK than other rich countries.
A ‘good work’ agenda must provide a broad-based platform for treating lower earners with dignity
1.1 million workers on a zero-hours contract and the 7.2 million workers who say they are anxious about unexpected changes in their hours of work (of whom 2 million are in the bottom hourly pay quintile).
A rising minimum wage has had a transformative impact on the pay of the lowest earners
We should continue to raise the minimum wage, although we need to think harder about when to stop uprating
On current OBR forecasts that would mean reaching a value of £13.12 in that year, or £25,660 per year for a full-time worker.
We need to think broadly when it comes to the trade-offs involved in raising minimum standards
We can and should improve work for low earners