Making decisions about work in one-earner couple households

Collard, Sharon and Atkinson, Adele (2009). Making decisions about work in one-earner couple households. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report (560). Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.



The Government has set ambitious targets for reducing the number of children grwing up in poverty and has pledged to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Its latest plans for doing this are set out in the March 2008 publication Ending child poverty: everybody's business (HM Treasury, 2008a).

Taken together, there are 900,000 children in poverty from two-parent families where one adult works full- or part-time, and the other does not work at all. this accounts for 33 per cent of children in poverty. The evidence suggests that these figures could be reduced by encouraging potential second earners into work; within couple families where one parent works full-time and the other does not work, 20 per cent of children are in poverty. Where the second parent work part-time the proportion drops to three percent, and two percent if both parents work full-time (DWP, 2008).

Ending child poverty: everybody's business acknowledges the importance of tackling in-work poverty, through encouraging potential second earners in couple families into work where appropriate, and by ensuring that all parents have the support they need to stay in work and progress to higher paid jobs through training and development. This research was designed to improve understanding about two-parent families with children living in poverty where only one parent works, and to focus particularly on the work decisions of the non-working parent.

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