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News: Low Pay Damaging Family Life and Worker Health

Low pay is having a devastating effect on family life and worker health, according to new polling commissioned by the Living Wage Foundation.

The polling, conducted by Survation, polled 1,016 UK parents working full time and earning less than the Living Wage, and found:

  • 71% worry so much it affects their day to day life
  • 35% always, or quite often, feel lonely
  • Almost a quarter believe low pay has negatively affected their relationship with their children (23.9%)
  • Almost a quarter believe low pay has negatively affected their relationship with their close friends and family (24.3%)
  • 32% feel their pay negatively affects the quality of their relationship with their partner

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:

“It’s shocking to see just how corrosive the effects of low pay are on family life. Many parents are earning too little to provide their children with the basics, like a warm winter coat. What’s worse is that they’re also stuck in jobs that require them to work long, anti-social hours away from their children and report feeling lonely. The stress this places on families is immense.

“Without a genuine Living Wage based on the cost of living, many parents will continue to struggle to make ends meet, while their family lives suffer, and their health can deteriorate.

“Thankfully there are now nearly 4,000 Living Wage Employers who are doing the right thing, and paying a fair day’s wage for a hard day’s work. These are the UK’s most forward-looking and responsible businesses, and they recognise that a healthy and respected workforce is also a productive one. A Living Wage benefits individuals, families, businesses and society, and we now need to see more businesses step up, do the right thing, and pay their workers a decent wage.”

Living Wage relief

Research by KPMG found that one in five people (21 percent) in the UK are still earning below the real Living Wage, meaning that an estimated 5.5 million employees are struggling to get out of in-work poverty. However, the total number earning below the real Living Wage fell by 100,000 from 2016-17.

Polling found strong support for the Living Wage, with many stating that being paid a Living Wage would improve their family life, and their physical and mental health. Of those polled:

  • 84% said being paid the real Living Wage would improve their overall happiness
  • 81% said it would improve family life
  • 78% said it would improve their mental health
  • 71% said it would improve their physical health

Sam White, Group Sustainability Director, Aviva, said:

“When you see three quarters of parents earning less than the Living Wage say they worry so much it affects their daily life, it brings home the real impact on people and their families. We took the decision to become a Living Wage employer not only because we thought it was the right thing to do for the people we work with, but that it was good business too.”

For more information, please contact John Hood at and 07507 173649


Survation conducted polling of 1,016 UK adults between 19th June and 13th July, 2017. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

All respondents in this survey where parents of a child under 18, worked full-time, and their income (whether stated hourly, weekly or annually) equated to be less than the Living Wage. While requirements of the survey ensured that respondents were employed full-time (more than 30 hours a week), and earned less than the real Living Wage, other employment-related questions were asked to also determine more about a respondent’s way of life and attitudes towards their employment.

22nd February 2018, 00:01
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