Research and analysis

Making decisions about work in low-income couple households

This qualitative research explores the motivations and attitudes to work of poor households.

Documents

Making decisions about work in low-income couple households

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Summary: Making decisions about work in low-income couple households

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Details

This research helps us to understand the barriers parents who are members of a couple face in the labour market. It looks at:

  • what influences their decisions to move into work
  • what motivates them to increase their hours of work
  • how these decisions may change over time

Existing evidence on child poverty shows that getting more people into work and increasing their earnings is the best route out of poverty. However, the proportion of poor children in working couple families increased from 38% in 2002/03 to 58% in 2011/12. These tend not to be families with both parents working full-time and their low income is mainly due to a lack of work.

The findings from this research have informed the Child Poverty Strategy published on 26 June 2014. The findings will help the Child Poverty Unit to take action to support parents into work, work enough hours and earn enough to help themselves out of poverty.

Improving our understanding of these households also helps us to develop information to meet the needs of low-income families. For example, this research has contributed to training materials for Jobcentre Plus advisers to help them support parents into work.

Authors: Sharon Collard and Sara Davies (Personal Finance Research Centre)

Published 26 June 2014