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Topic Update: Report on Low Pay Britain 2022

Vicki Woolven

16th September 2022

The Low Pay Britain 2022 report from the Resolution Foundation is the 12th annual report looking at the state of low pay in the UK, and the impact on peoples' lives across the country.

The report focuses on how low paid work has changed over the past two decades since the introduction of the minimum wage in the UK. It is a useful resource for extra reading for students exploring Poverty, Work and Welfare.

Recent increases to the minimum wage have meant that there are fewer people working for very low wages, and is at the lowest level for over 45 years. However there has been an increase in the number of self-employed people over the last two decades, who are not protected by minimum wage legislation. Those people who are in low paid work also have the risk of job insecurity and fluctuating hours and pay - particularly with the increase of zero hours contracts.

This report looks at the following in detail:

  • The labour market has recovered quickly (if not fully) from Covid-19. In 2021 the incidence of low hourly pay among employees fell to its joint-lowest level on record, thanks to fast rises in the minimum wage
  • The incidence of low pay is still more common among some groups of employees than others, but gaps have closed fast – particularly for women
  • There has been markedly less progress on low weekly pay
  • There has been significant attention on the gig economy – this risks missing a larger (and growing) group of low paid self-employed workers
  • Similarly, problems of hours insecurity go beyond zero hours contracts
  • Issues of low pay and insecurity are concentrated in certain parts of the labour market
  • Concerns about negative side-effects of a rising minimum wage have so far not come to pass – this includes concerns around progression
  • A new agenda for improving low paid work must focus on insecurity and the self-employed, as well as on the hourly rate of pay

Each of the bullet points above has a drop down icon where you can gain full details of that part of the report.

Read the report: Low Pay Britain 2022

Vicki Woolven

Vicki Woolven is Subject Lead for Key Stage 4 Humanities at tutor2u. Vicki previously worked as a Head of Geography and Sociology for many years, leading her department to be one of the GA's first Centres of Excellent, and has been a content writer, senior examiner and local authority Key Practitioner for Humanities.

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