Civil society

How can lived experience help co-design solutions to in-work poverty?

Co-designing solutions to in-work poverty
June 2019 – July 2021

From 2019 - 2021 we worked with a small core group made up of people who have lived experience of in-work poverty and staff members from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) to co-design solutions to the issue of in-work poverty. 

The core group worked together for nearly two years to explore lived experience of in-work poverty, through a number of in-person and online workshops which have focussed on understanding those experiences to identify what in-work poverty is, what many of the causes of it are and what impacts it has on people's lives.

The group then worked together, commissioned wider research, received evidence from a range of stakeholders to develop three key recommendations to inform the Employment Bill which was promised in the Queen's Speech in 2020.

The three key recommendations are:

  1. Introduce new rights to more secure work so people can plan their family life and finances, including the right to:
    - A secure contract that reflects your working hours after 26 weeks, with a zero-hours or short-hours contract something a worker can choose to opt in to after this point if it suits them.
    - Four weeks' notice of your working schedules.
    - Compensation for last-minute cancellation of shifts.
  2. Make flexible working the default from day one of employment and reconsider the business exemptions for refusing a request, so jobs work around caring responsibilities and health needs.
  3. Double the number of labour market enforcement inspectors to make sure the new single enforcement body (SEB) fulfils its potential to prevent bad employers getting an unjust advantage by undercutting good ones.

JRF have published the full report from the project which can be read by clicking here. There is also a policy briefing document outlining the issues which the group explored and explaining the solutions which the group developed which can be found here. The work of the group can also be found in this report developed by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Prospect Magazine which highlights the changes the group wanted to see.