Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Market, stated that the government will “build back fairer as well as better” in relation to tackling inequalities for low-paid workers. Speaking at an event hosted by the Resolution Foundation, Scully also said that high paid, flexible and secure work will be created as part of the government’s Jobs Plan.
The event itself discussed the Resolution Foundation’s latest research which analysed the impact of COVID-19 on low paid workers. They have been hardest hit compared to those earning more, largely due to the retail and hospitality sectors bearing the brunt of lockdowns. The research found that:
- Low paid workers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Data shows that they are three times as likely as higher paid workers to lose their job or hours and pay due to the crisis, or be furloughed.
- There are reasons for positivity as the economy reopens. Just as low paid workers have been worst affected by the restrictions on the sectors they work in, so the reopening of the economy from April onwards should benefit low paid workers the most.
- Problems of insecurity and abuse of employment rights are already unacceptably prevalent. 1 in 5 (20 per cent of) low paid workers has an insecure job, defined as having a zero hours contract, involuntary working on a temporary contract, or working low hours and wanting more. This compares to 6 per cent of higher paid workers. And 14 per cent of workers in the lowest pay quintile said they did not receive any paid holiday – compared with 6 per cent of the highest paid workers.
On the subject of tackling abuse of employment rights, Paul Scully reiterated the government’s commitment to issuing an Employment Bill which has been unacceptably delayed. He is keen to get on with it asap, and Scully also confirmed that we will shortly hear more from the government in relation to their planned Single Enforcement Body, a proposal which they consulted on in 2019 and is awaiting their feedback.