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An Evaluation of the Living Wage: Identifying Pathways Out of In-Work Poverty

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Publication details

JournalSocial Policy and Society
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Jan 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jul 2018
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)379-392
Early online date8/05/17
Original languageEnglish


This article reports the results of a case study of the introduction of the living wage. Three employers in the City of York became Living Wage employers. Using data derived from a sample survey of their employees and qualitative interviews this paper explores what impact the receipt of the living wage had on poverty and deprivation. It found that not all living wage employees were income poor or deprived although those on living wage rates were more likely to be poor and deprived than those on slightly higher wages. The more important determinant of the employees’ living standards was the household they lived in and there were a high proportion of living wage employees living in multi-unit households. Also important were the number of earners in the household and the hours worked by the living wage employee. Lone parent families and single people appeared to be most vulnerable to poverty and deprivation. In addition, whether the employee took up their entitlement to in-work benefits was critical and, using benefit checks by welfare rights experts, it was found that some were not.

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    Research areas

  • Living wage, deprivation, low pay, minimum wage, poverty

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