Coronavirus: UK's lowest earners have been hardest hit by virus

Lower earners have been hardest hit. Photo: Getty

The UK’s lowest earning workers have suffered the biggest jobs hit since the coronavirus crisis engulfed the country, a survey has showed.

More than a quarter of Britain’s lowest-paid employees have either been furloughed or lost their jobs. But less than one in ten of the top fifth of earners have been affected, with only 6% furloughed and 3% losing their jobs.

Under the government’s emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme, workers who are temporarily laid off continue to receive 80% of their pay, up to £2,500 ($3,025.88) a month.

The survey by the Resolution Foundation showed that in total, 21% of private sector workers had been furloughed from their main job in early May.

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One in eight workers thought they would lose their jobs in the coming three months, while nearly a quarter believed their hours would be reduced, according to the survey.

The survey also showed low uptake of the government’s income support scheme for self-employed people, as many believed they were ineligible or because their work was not hit by the crisis.

Hannah Slaughter, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s lowest-paid workers and those with the most insecure work are bearing the brunt of Britain’s economic crisis.

“Close to a third of our lowest-paid employees have already lost their jobs or been furloughed since the crisis began. Thankfully, the majority are having their earnings protected by the Government’s retention scheme. Nonetheless, their job prospects over the coming months are highly uncertain.

“The government’s bold support measures have avoided unimaginable unemployment rises but the jobs crisis is far from over, with around one in seven workers still fearing they could lose their jobs in the coming months. We now need to see new measures – including job guarantees for young people – to tackle the high levels of joblessness that are likely to be with us long after the pandemic has subsided.”