Employment Law Birmingham News

For free initial advice on all aspects of employment law, contact us today.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login

Low-wage earners

Posted by on in Employment Contract

Recent statistics from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, have revealed that one out of six employees (17%) in the EU27 was a low-wage earner in 2010.

This proportion varied significantly between Member States, with the highest percentages observed in Latvia (27.8%), and the lowest in Sweden (2.5%).

Low-wage earners are defined as those employees earning two thirds or less of the national median gross hourly earnings. Therefore, the thresholds that determine low-wage earners are relative and specific to each Member State.

There are large differences between men and women regarding the proportion of low-wage earners. In the EU27 in 2010, 21.2% of female employees were low-wage earners, compared with 13.3% of male employees.

In all Member States, except Bulgaria, there was a larger share of female employees who were low-wage earners than male.

The level of education plays an important role: the lower the level, the higher is the likelihood of being a low-wage earner. In the EU27 in 2010, 29.0% of employees with a low education level were low-wage earners, compared with 19.3% of those with a medium level and 5.8% of those with a high level.

The type of contract also has a significant impact. In the EU27 in 2010, 31.3% of employees with a contract of limited duration were low-wage earners, compared with 15.7% for those with an indefinite contract.

Many of the recent increases in women's employment levels have been in self-employment and involuntary part-time work, which poses a threat to their pay and job security, according to the TUC's latest economic report.

While male unemployment rose fastest during the first two years of the recession, female unemployment has risen more sharply in the last two years, mainly due to public sector job losses.

The report shows that the type of work women are doing has changed considerably since the recession. While the number of women in full-time employee jobs has fallen by 170,000, nearly 200,000 more women now describe themselves as being self-employed.

The poor pay associated with self-employment is shown by pay trends over the last decade. The median income of self-employed workers has fallen from £11,300 in 2001 to just £10,300 in 2010, even before allowing for inflation. The average income for employees has risen over the same period and is now nearly twice as high (£18,900).

Self-employed work is also less secure than an employee job, particularly if people are offered 'zero hours' contracts with no guaranteed work.

Despite high levels of female unemployment, the report also shows that the number of women in work is almost as high as before the recession. But this is because there are more women of working age - particularly as state pension age rises have been extending women's working age from 60 in 2010 to 66 in 2017. The number of women not working due to family and caring responsibilities - a figure that has been falling for the last 40 years - has also been unaffected by the recession.

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I accept cookies from this site.

EU Cookie Directive Module Information