What do low-paid workers think would improve their working lives?: report

HAY Cordelia
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication year:

Report presenting the findings from qualitative research on the experiences and perceptions of low-paid, low-income workers in the retail, hospitality and care sectors. It examines how these workers feel about work, and what they think would most improve their working lives. Views and experiences were captured through 14 focus groups with a total of 98 low-paid employees from across the three sectors. These were held across 6 regions of the UK. The report explores the realities of low-paid work and workers' perceptions of what makes a 'good' or a 'bad' job in low-paid work. Factors contributing to a 'bad' job focused on how staff were treated regarding unpaid breaks, overtime, sick leave, and for travel time in the case of community care workers. Stress and relationships with managers were also factors contributing to dissatisfaction. The report then looks at the challenges specific to each of the three sectors. Challenges specific to the care sector included lack of support in coping with death or aggressive residents and service users and the poor status of the industry. The final section of the report outlines ideas for improving work for low-paid workers that go beyond pay rises. Initiatives viewed more favourably by staff were those concerned with providing more security outside work, such as paying the living wage, support with child are, paid sick leave and paid travel time. Conclusions and recommendations for employers of low-paid workers are then presented. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
staff, care workers, wages, low income, attitudes, conditions of employment, social care staff, home care assistants, job satisfaction;
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