Research: Life on Low Pay in the Pandemic


This Living Wage Foundation briefing explores the experiences of full-time, below-Living-Wage employees. Drawing on polling of 2,128 adults, it explores the impacts of the pandemic on pay, and the broader implications of being in low-paid work for health, finances and family life.

Key findings

  • 67% of full-time, below Living-Wage employees said their pay had been lowered for reasons related to the pandemic over the past year.
  • 29% said they had fallen behind with household bills in the past year, and a further 20% said they had fallen behind with their rent or mortgage.
  • 14% had taken out a pay-day loan to cover essentials.
  • 27% said they had skipped meals regularly for financial reasons in the past year.
  • 46% said that the pay they received for their work negatively affects their levels of anxiety.

The poll also demonstrates the potential benefits of the real Living Wage to both workers and the businesses they work for. When asked what they thought would happen if they were to move from the minimum wage to the Living Wage:

  • 70% said they would belikely to stay with their employers for longer.
  • 68% said they would be more likely to speak positively about their employer to others.