People on the lowest incomes are increasingly being driven to work part-time to cope with the rising cost of childcare and caring responsibilities, a new study has found.
Low-paid men, including those earning minimum wage, work on average five hours a week fewer than men in the highest income category, new analysis the Resolution Foundation has found. This jumps to a 10-hour difference in the gap between the lowest and highest paid women.
Britain is seeing a “‘part-time work divide’, where low-paid workers work fewer hours than high earners”, said Louise Murphy, economist at the think tank.
“This reduces individuals’ living standards and raises Britain’s inequality,” she added.
“Of course, for many lower earners, part-time work is a positive choice, reflecting their wider life priorities. For others, however, the decision to work part-time is driven by a lack of flexibility and opportunity, with real implications for their wages today and progression tomorrow.
“Policy makers should therefore recognise these nuanced drivers of part-time work, and focus on improving the quality of people’s work. Part-time work should not be the only route for low earners to enjoy the flexibility that higher-paid workers take for granted, such as being able to do the school run or keep weekends free.”