Earnings Outlook Q4 2019

How should minimum wage policy respond to the current economic crisis?

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Usually in the Earnings Outlook we summarise the latest developments in pay and employment and use these to look forwards, with the trends moving slowly enough that the lag in our data is not too much of a problem. But with so much having changed so quickly, our normal indicators now serve as a guide … Continued

The times they aren’t a-changin’

Why working hours have stopped falling in London and the UK

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For the typical British adult, paid work takes up more time than any other activity save sleep. How many hours someone works per week is important both for their family’s income and for the way they live their lives. Over the past 200 years average working hours have gradually declined, so that the typical worker … Continued

Under the wage floor

Exploring firms’ incentives to comply with the minimum wage

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This briefing note explores the incentives for firms to comply with the National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage (NLW/NMW). It documents the penalties that firms are subject to; estimates underpaying firms’ rate of detection; and shows that even if detection rates were significantly increased, they would need to go hand-in-hand with higher financial penalties to provide firms with a hard economic incentive to comply with the NLW/NMW.

Never ever

Exploring the increase in people who’ve never had a paid job

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This briefing note explores why, despite record-high employment, the proportion of working-age adults who have never had a paid job has increased, pointing to a reduction in ‘earning while learning’ as a key driver.

Labour market
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Low pay
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Pay
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Minimum wage
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Living Wage

Ain’t no minimum high enough

Minimum wage policy in the 2019 General Election

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Summary Minimum wage increases since 2015 delivered a £3bn pay boost to low-paid workers last year – highlighting the benefits of cross-party consensus over a more ambitious wage floor. Both main parties are right to propose plans for an even higher wage floor, but should proceed carefully, and be prepared to change course if needed. … Continued

More than we bargain for

Learning from new debates on how institutions can improve worker pay and security in Anglo-Saxon economies

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The UK’s tight labour market is delivering improvements for many, but big challenges remain that current policies and debates aren’t yet rising to meet. The UK can learn from emerging discussions and policy innovations in other Anglo-Saxon economies.

From rights to reality

Enforcing labour market laws in the UK

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Today’s labour market looks nothing like it did even a decade ago. With more women in the workplace than ever before, the decline of key sectors such as retail and manufacturing and the rise of self-employment, who works, where we work and the ways that we work have all changed significantly over time. Laws and … Continued

Trading up or trading off?

Understanding recent changes to England’s apprenticeships system

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In 2017 there was overhaul to the apprenticeships system in England: large firms were required to pay 0.5 per cent of their wage bill into an apprenticeship levy, while regulations on training and delivery were firmed up. Two years on, this briefing note takes stock of the system, looking at what’s changed, why and where … Continued

Moving matters

Housing costs and labour market mobility

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Moving matters for living standards. Taking a new job in a different firm has a larger pay uplift
than simply being promoted , and moving to a more
productive area comes with an even bigger pay premium. In this note we look at why young people are moving jobs and homes less than in the past, and explore the extent to which diverging housing costs lies behind this trend.

Labour market
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Low pay
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Pay
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Minimum wage
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Living Wage

Low Pay Britain 2019

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This is our ninth annual report on low pay. This edition focuses on the minimum wage, which recently turned 20. It analyses the extent to which the minimum wage has reduced the proportion of the working-age population in low pay. It also looks to the future, asking how fast the minimum wage can boost wages for the lowest earners while managing the inevitable risks to employment.

Pick up the pace: the slowdown in educational attainment growth and its widespread effects

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This paper highlights that while improvements to the country’s human capital stock have been driven by increasingly educated cohorts of young people flowing into the labour market, the pace of growth in young people’s educational attainment has more than halved since the start of the 21st century. This ‘slowdown’ brings with it worrying implications for productivity and living standards.

Sorry, we’re closed: Understanding the impact of retail’s decline on people and places

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Headlines about shop closures might give the impression that retail’s decline is a recent phenomenon, but retail’s share of employment has been falling for 15 years. This report digs behind this long-run trend, driven by changes in what we spend and how we spend it, and focuses in on what really matters when it comes to economic change: people and places.

Atypical approaches: Options to support workers with insecure incomes

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There has been much debate about the certainty of income that atypical work provides, and whether the rights of workers are being consistently upheld. This report explores these issues, looking beyond a minimum wage premium, at how other high-income countries have sought to reduce one-sided flexibility in the labour market.

Irregular Payments: Assessing the breadth and depth of month to month earnings volatility

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This research addresses the question of earnings volatility, unearthing striking findings about the lived experience of work – and the pay we receive for it – in the UK today. This report makes use of anonymised transaction data from over seven million Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) accounts in order to demonstrate the breadth and depth of changes in pay from month to month.

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