herald

Friday 21 September 2018

104,000 stuck in poverty despite being employed - study

More falling into poverty trap
More falling into poverty trap

More workers than ever are falling into the poverty trap, Social Justice Ireland's latest study has revealed.

Women, retail, hospitality and young workers, and those on temporary contracts, are among the "working poor" living in poverty.

The study, called Poverty Focus, reveals that more than 104,000 Irish workers are poor despite having a job.

Despite the economic recovery since 2009, more workers than ever are falling into the poverty trap, the study found.

"Having a job is not, of itself, a guarantee that one lives in a poverty-free household," according to the report.

"According to the latest Central Statistics Office data, almost 6pc of those who are employed are at risk of poverty," it states.

"Over time, poverty figures for the working poor have moved little, reflecting a persistent problem with low earnings."

The study found that many working families on low earnings are struggling to "achieve a basic standard of living".

Precarious

"This group comprises just over 13pc of all those in poverty and numbers almost 105,000 people," the report added.

"Issues such as low pay and precarious work experiences are common realities for this group."

The level of educational attainment is a big factor, with "the risk of living on a low income strongly related to low completed education levels".

People whose education stopped at the lower secondary level, or lower, have a 25pc chance of being poor, while the risk of poverty is less than half for those with third-level education, the report noted.

However, it also found that certain occupations or terms of employment are more likely than others to ensure a lifetime of poverty.

Commenting on the new report, Social Justice Ireland chief executive Sean Healy said: "If people in employment can't be guaranteed a life free from poverty, then there is something seriously wrong.

"We have been saying for quite some time now that Ireland's social contract is broken. This is further proof."

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