Issue date
02 Jun 2017

Download Insecure work and Ethnicity report (PDF)

In December 2016 the TUC published a new report, Living on the edge, looking at the extent of insecure work in Britain today.

The report found that there are 3.2 million people who face insecurity in work in the UK, either because they are working on a contract that does not guarantee decent employment rights (including zero hours contracts, agency and casual work), or because they are in low paid self-employment (earning less than the government’s National Living Wage). In total this is one in ten of those in work.

These people are missing out on key rights and protections at work. 1.5 million of this group are employed, but risk missing out on family friendly rights including maternity, paternity and adoption leave, the right to an itemised pay slip, and protection from unfair dismissal. This number has grown by 700,000 in the last decade, mostly because of the increase in zero hours contracts.

The report also shows that those in insecure work experience significant pay penalties:

  • Self-employed people now earn on average 60 percent of the median annual rate of an employee per year, down from around 70 percent a decade ago.
  • Median hourly pay for those on a zero-hours contract in 2016 was worth just 66 percent of the median for all employees.
  • Median hourly pay for those working for an employment agency was worth just 80 percent that of the average employee; for those in casual or seasonal work, pay was worth just 60 percent of the employee average.
  • Due to low pay and irregular hours, many of these workers also miss out on sick pay, statutory maternity and paternity pay and the right to be enrolled automatically into a workplace pension. Almost half a million people on zero hours contracts or in insecure temporary work miss out on these rights.

This analysis looks at how the growth of insecure work has affected different ethnic groups. Our previous analysis looked at the growth of insecure work over the period of 2011 to 2016, and for consistency this data will look over the same period.

Download Insecure work and Ethnicity report (PDF)