Poor part-time pay in London 'stops mothers working'

woman on phone Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Most part-time jobs in London are poorly paid and low-skilled

Part-time work is growing fast in London, but much of it is poorly paid, according to the London Assembly.

Mothers in the capital face particular difficulty in finding jobs that enable them to combine work with childcare.

Only 60% of women with dependent children are in work compared with 69% in the rest of the UK.

And nearly half of all 18-24 year-olds and part-time staff are paid less than the London Living Wage (LLW) of £9.40 per hour.

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Unlike older workers, under-25s cannot top up their pay with means-tested benefits.

More than two-thirds of hotel workers now earn less than the LLW, as do more than half of retail staff, and the proportions have grown since the financial crisis of 2008.

The Assembly's report calls on the next Mayor to consider making the LLW compulsory for all London businesses by 2020.

'Not fulfilling'

Image copyright Andreas Rentz/Getty
Image caption Less than half of shopworkers earn the London Living Wage

It says the current Mayor, Boris Johnson, has "fallen short of the mark" in his aim to create "fulfilling" jobs for Londoners, prioritising the quantity of jobs over their quality.

"Many Londoners are unable to work to their potential, using neither their full talent nor flair," it says.

"London's economy, while successful, is not as productive as pre-recession trends implied; and many of the available jobs, particularly in the low pay sectors, are far from fulfilling."

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "The Mayor has worked tirelessly to ensure all Londoners have access to fulfilling and sustainable jobs.

"The number of companies paying the London Living Wage increased from 27 in 2008 to more than 700 today."

Few jobshares

Fiona Twycross, the chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, said women would struggle to return to work after having children if they were not paid enough to cover the cost of childcare.

"Partly it's the attitude that it's difficult to have people working flexibly.... It's still unusual for people to be jobsharing.

"It's a shame for the individuals concerned, and it's not good for the economy if we're not using women returning to work at their full capacity."

Emma Stewart, the joint CEO of the Timewise Foundation, said people who wanted a "quality" job advertised as part-time were fishing in a market that constituted 3% of advertised vacancies.

"Women downgrade. The answer is to encourage employers to think about how open they could be to part-time or flexible working at the point of hire."

The report says the next Mayor should:

  • Consider making the LLW compulsory for London businesses by 2020
  • Offer business rates discounts to firms that pay the Wage
  • Consider creating a London-wide careers advancement service for the low-paid
  • Work with hotel and restaurant chains to raise wages
  • Call for all job advertisements to include pay and contract details
  • Require restaurants to display their tipping policies

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