THE University of Bradford has partnered up with a team of experts to publish research on the impact that low-paying and insecure jobs are having on people’s lives and their work life balance.

The research paper, titled The Forgotten Workers, is pioneering analysis and examination of the work-life balance of low-paid workers reliant upon more than one job.

It has been led by Dr Andrew Smith, Reader in Human Resources Management and Employment Relations at the University, since 2015, and has already impacted policy-making at multiple different councils.

In the research, Dr Smith found that limited available work, low pay and fairness and dignity at work all contribute to what his report calls a unique social phenomenon.

It revealed while the minimum wage and living wage have both gone up, some people in low paid jobs have to rely on multiple jobs to get by, leaving them very little time to actually live their lives.

He partnered with the University of Durham’s Professor Jo McBride in leading the research, and they worked with Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, councillors in Kirklees, Leeds City Council’s head of human resources and trade unions the TUC and USDAW.

The aim was to develop policies and practices to improve the lives of low-paid and precarious workers.

The key findings the made relating to issues around low-pay and insufficient working hours highlighted a dual fragmentation of employment and working time with some low-paid workers needing multiple jobs in order to attempt to make ends meet.

Whilst there have been increases in both the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, the interviewees professed to limited job availability, the proliferation of part-time, agency, temporary, seasonal, casual and zero hours contracts.

Dr Smith said: “We have interviewed 50 workers, nine trade union officials and representatives, six senior managers and twi foodbank organisers.

“All of the participants we interviewed worked complex, long, and fragmented working times.

“They all had an amalgamation of jobs spread across different workplace locations and temporalities, which creates work extensification.

“Due to financial pressures and elongated working schedules, many faced well- being issues of stress, exhaustion and some suffered from depression.

“Most prominent were issues around zero hours contracts, highly variable working hours, resulting in unstable and unpredictable incomes, together with subsequent work-life ‘balance’ complexities.

“There are also issues around dignity and fair treatment at work, with many of these workers being excluded from training and development opportunities.

“Moreover, in terms of work-life balance practices, many of these workers are regarded as ‘peripheral’ staff by line managers in multiple workplaces and excluded from organisational policies, meaning that they are further marginalised.”

As a result of the research, Kirklees Council has already passed motions to develop policies around low pay and in-work poverty, while Leeds Council is looking to offer more training and working hours for part-time staff.

The TUC And USDAW are both also working on campaigns to protect low paid workers in precarious jobs.