Insecurity over working hours and the real living wage are at the heart of a new campaign launched by the Living Wage Foundation.
The campaign group’s Living Hours programme calls on organisations to pay a real living wage, provide workers with at least four weeks’ notice of shifts, a contract that accurately reflects hours worked, and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week.
Employers agreeing to the measures will be accredited as Living Hours employers, alongside the existing Living Wage accreditation.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “The Living Wage has put almost £1b extra into the pockets of more than 200,000 workers, but it’s increasingly clear that pay is not the only driver of in-work poverty. A lack of secure, stable hours is leaving millions of families struggling to keep their heads above water. This isn’t good for workers or businesses.
“Constant uncertainty over the number of hours, timings of your shifts or the amount of pay you’ll get each week places people under enormous pressure. A shift cancelled at the last minute might sound small, but it can be the difference between being able to pay for your family’s dinner that night or going hungry. And being expected to work at short notice means you can’t plan around other costs and commitments.
“We’ve consulted with hundreds of workers, employers and trade unions in drawing up these measures to ensure they are ambitious but achievable. We believe Living Hours will provide an important new measure to fight in-work poverty and to provide workers and their families with stability and security.”
Research by the foundation had shown that one in six, or about five million workers, are in low-paid, insecure forms of work, including short-term contracts or contracts with unpredictable hours and pay.
Employers including Richer Sounds, SSE and Standard Life Aberdeen have already committed to sign up to the scheme.