Women in Multiple Low-paid Employment: Pathways between Work, Care and Health

This three-year project will be the first to study the nature and extent of women’s multiple low-paid employment (MLPE) in the UK, and elucidate the dynamic relationships between MLPE, caring responsibilities, and health and wellbeing.  It combines secondary analysis of national survey data across time with qualitative research to examine the lived experiences of women in Glasgow.

MLPE affects approximately 1 in 20 employed women in the UK, and is increasing in prevalence. Whilst having multiple jobs is a route out of poverty for men, for women the poverty rate does not fall with multiple jobs. MLPE is typically low-status and ‘precarious’, and commonly involves extended working days, nonstandard employment hours, difficult commutes, physically (and sometimes emotionally) demanding labour, and a lack of protections and rights such as flexible working, sick pay and pensions. Caring responsibilities can amplify the negative health consequences of MLPE through added pressures, and burdens on health. 

This study provides the opportunity to establish the pathways between work, care and health and wellbeing in order to identify if, and how, policies and services might better support women in MLPE. It will raise the profile of MLPE and its associated health outcomes amongst stakeholders and the wider public, and build on existing agendas in this field. Through engagement of participants, the public, and policy and practice stakeholders, the project will identify the implications, lessons and actions for public policy and related services, in order to protect and enhance women’s health and wellbeing.


Louise Lawson (Principal Investigator)

Tanya Wilson (Co-Investigator)

Ade Kearns (Co-Investigator)

Mhairi Mackenzie (Co-Investigator)

Louise Lawson (Communications) 


Living Wage


Close The Gap

Poverty Alliance


Nuffield Foundation