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18 May, 2020 Open access

Lowest-paid employees are ‘bearing the brunt’ of coronavirus economic crisis, with almost a third having either been furloughed or lost jobs

New Resolution Foundation report on impacts of coronavirus on the labour market also finds nearly half of self-employed workers are not intending to take up government support scheme

The lowest-paid employees are ‘bearing the brunt' of the coronavirus economic crisis, with almost a third having either been furloughed or lost their jobs altogether, according to a new Resolution Foundation report published today.

In The effects of the coronavirus crisis on workers, the Resolution Foundation anaylses finding from a survey of 6,005 UK adults and examines how the current economic crisis has affected workers’ jobs, hours and working patterns. The Foundation finds that 25 per cent of the lowest-paid fifth of employed-earners have been furloughed and a further 5 per cent have lost their jobs, contrasting with less than one in ten (8 per cent) of the top fifth of earners either losing work or being furloughed.

In addition, the report's findings include that -

Turning to the future, the Foundation notes that around one in eight workers (13 per cent) think they will lose their jobs in the coming three months, while nearly a quarter of workers (23 per cent) believe their hours will be reduced. As a result, it calls for wider labour market support - including job guarantees for young people, expansion of training provision, and supporting the creation of ‘green new jobs’ - as the Job Retention Scheme is 'dialled down' in the coming months.

Commenting on the report, Resolution Foundation Economist Hannah Slaughter, said:

‘Britain’s lowest-paid workers and those with the most insecure work are bearing the brunt of Britain’s economic crisis.

Close to a third of our lowest-paid employees have already lost their jobs or been furloughed since the crisis began. Thankfully, the majority are having their earnings protected by the Government’s retention scheme. Nonetheless, their job prospects over the coming months are highly uncertain.

“The Government’s bold support measures have avoided unimaginable unemployment rises but the jobs crisis is far from over, with around one in seven workers still fearing they could lose their jobs in the coming months. We now need to see new measures – including job guarantees for young people – to tackle the high levels of joblessness that are likely to be with us long after the pandemic has subsided.’

For more information, see Nearly a third of lower-paid employees have lost jobs or been furloughed, compared to less than one-in-ten top earners from resolutionfoundation.org

NB - the TUC has today published its own policy recommendation for the protection of workers' jobs and livelihoods that include ongoing business support through a wage subsidy scheme, increased statutory sick pay and social security payments, a new right to parental leave during school closures, and the creation of a task force bringing together unions and employers to co-ordinate effective support.