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Lower paid bear brunt of crisis with a third losing job or furloughed

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A third of lower-paid workers have lost their jobs or been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, compared with less than one in ten top earners, research has found.

A survey of 6,005 adults by think tank the Resolution Foundation revealed that 5% of lower-paid workers have lost their job, and a further 25% have been furloughed.

In contrast, less than one in ten (8%) of the top fifth of earners have lost work or been furloughed.

Across the workforce as a whole, around 18% of workers have lost work or been furloughed, including 25% of private sector workers.

Workers with insecure working patterns are most likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed. This includes 31% of employees who work variable hours, and 28% of those on zero-hours contracts.

Looking to the future, the research found that close to one-in-eight workers (13%) think they will lose their jobs in the coming three months, while nearly a quarter of workers (23%) believe their hours will be reduced.

Hannah Slaughter, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s lowest-paid workers and those with the most insecure work are bearing the brunt of Britain’s economic crisis.

“Close to a third of our lowest-paid employees have already lost their jobs or been furloughed since the crisis began. Thankfully, the majority are having their earnings protected by the Government’s retention scheme. Nonetheless, their job prospects over the coming months are highly uncertain.

“The Government’s bold support measures have avoided unimaginable unemployment rises but the jobs crisis is far from over, with around one in seven workers still fearing they could lose their jobs in the coming months. We now need to see new measures – including job guarantees for young people – to tackle the high levels of joblessness that are likely to be with us long after the pandemic has subsided.”

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