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Non-Standard Contracts and the National Living Wage: A Report for the Low Pay Commission

Non-Standard Contracts and the National Living Wage: A Report for the Low Pay Commission

Moore, Sian, Antunes, Bethania, White, Geoffrey, Tailby, Stephanie and Newsome, Kirsty (2017) Non-Standard Contracts and the National Living Wage: A Report for the Low Pay Commission. Project Report. University of Greenwich.

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This research explores the relationship between contractual arrangements and the payment of the National Living Wage (NLW). Its focus is non-standard employment arrangements; specifically zero hours contracts (ZHCs), Minimum Hours contracts (MHCs), agency work (effectively zero hours in this research) and dependent self-employment. In this report the term ‘dependent self-employed’ (DS-E) is used to refer to workers who are to all intents and purposes employees, but who are defined as self-employed, for example to achieve a more favourable tax and national insurance regime; the so-called ‘bogus self-employed’ (BS-E). Overall, these contractual forms may mean that workers receive variable pay from week to week and that once hours worked and related costs are taken into account, they may be paid below the NLW, and/or dependent upon in-work benefits to supplement pay. Using qualitative data collection the research contributes a set of worker case studies - 36 in total - drawn from six low paying industry sectors where the types of contracts under investigation are known to be in use. The approach allows detailed scrutiny of hours and their relationship with earnings and consideration of whether the NLW is achieved, taking into account fluctuations and paid and unpaid components of working time. The case studies explore elements of unpaid working time, highlighted in homecare (travel and waiting time), but increasingly in other sectors1. They capture the organisation of working time, the notion of unsocial hours and, concretely, the payment of premia. The case studies identify changes in contractual arrangements and pay and grading structures (compression or removal of differentials) in the light of the NLW, along with perceptions of employer behaviour in relation to its introduction. The report identifies factors driving contractual arrangements and the extent to which these represent individual preference or are involuntary, including where workers are deemed ‘self-employed’ and particularly in the context of recent Employment Tribunal cases. The impacts of contractual forms on work and the work-effort bargain are explored. Finally the research illustrates how workers survive in the context of wider household and familial relationships, including interaction with the tax and benefits systems. In focusing upon the ways that workers are formally or informally removed from employment protection, including the NLW, the report addresses a number of issues that the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices2 proposes might, in the future, fall within the remit of the Low Pay Commission (LPC).

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: National Living Wage (NLW); Non-standard employment arrangements
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2018 14:15

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