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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-392
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Issue number3
Early online date8 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

© Cambridge University Press 2017. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


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

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