Round the clock: in-work poverty and the 'hours question' | CPAG

Round the clock: in-work poverty and the 'hours question'

Post date: 
29 April 2015

How many hours should parents work in order not to be poor?

In-work poverty is a growing phenomenon in the UK and increasingly central to the political debate. At CPAG, we see in-work poverty as the product of three key variables: low wages; the level of social security that families receive; and the number of hours that parents work.

This report explores the third of these factors asking how many hours is it reasonable to expect parents to work. Through polling with a cross-section of the population, focus groups with parents and interviews with employers, the research sets out to identify assumptions about hours of parental employment that inform both policy and practice.

The research finds that while there is a vast range of opinions on the number of hours parents should reasonably be expected to work, parents believe that those on low pay should be able to make similar choices about work-family balance as the better off. The report considers the policy implications of these findings for childcare provision, employer behaviour, pay, social security provision and the conditions attached to benefit receipt.