Close to two-fifths (37%) of UK workers in full or part-time employment are given less than a week’s notice of their shifts or work patterns, the latest research conducted by the Living Wage Foundation revealed.
The research, which was based on two surveys of over 2,000 UK adults, was carried out to understand hours insecurity among the country’s workforce.
Data revealed that among the 59% of workers whose job involved variable hours or shift work, over three-fifths (62%) reported having less than a week’s notice of their work schedules. At the extreme, 12% of this group – amounting to 7% all working adults – had less than 24 hours’ notice.
London is where this practice of short notice working hours is more popular. In the City, almost half (48%) of all workers received less than a week’s notice of work schedules.
Scotland (35%), the South of England excluding London (34%), and the North of England (33%) were areas where short notice periods were less common.
Full-time, low-paid workers, were particularly hard hit by short notice of working hours.
Of those working full time and paid below the real Living Wage of £10.85 in London and £9.50 in the rest of the UK, more than half (55%) had less than a week’s notice of work schedules, with 15% having less than 24 hours’ notice.
Laura Gardiner, Director, Living Wage Foundation, said: “Without clear notice of shift patterns provided in good time, millions of workers have had to make impossible choices on childcare, transport and other important aspects of family life. Low-paid workers have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, with millions struggling to plan their lives due to the double whammy of changing restrictions on economic activity and insufficient notice of work schedules from employers.
“Despite this, and the challenges many employers have faced, some have stepped up during this crisis and committed to provide workers with secure, guaranteed hours and notice of shift patterns. These are the businesses that will help us rebuild and recover, and we encourage more employers to follow their example.”