Insecure families and low-paying labour markets : comments on the British experience
AbstractThere has been a raft of policy changes in the UK that are intended to help low-income families engage with the labour market. Drawing in part upon the findings of a small-scale qualitative study of the experiences of low-income working families, this article infers that the secular trend to working parenthood may, as matters stand, be experienced rather differently by secure middle-class families than by poor families. It may be that the former will benefit from policies to improve access to formal childcare, career breaks and time off when needed. The latter are more likely to remain dependent on informal childcare from other family members or friends and receive minimal concessions granted by reluctant employers. While benefits such as working families tax credit will help to secure the material needs of low-income working families, low-paid employment will remain no less precarious and it is possible that the insecurity experienced by low-income working families will increase.