A group of investors with more than £21 billion ($29 billion) in assets wants U.K. companies to provide guaranteed minimum working hours each week for employees.
The Church Investors Group, which represents 60 members, including the £3 billion Church of England Pensions Board, London, is contacting a select group of U.K. firms to encourage them to provide working hours in line with the Living Hours initiative. The initiative calls on employers to provide the right to decent notice periods for shift work and a right to a contract with living hours — a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours per week.
The group is first targeting the finance and insurance sectors, moving onto construction and utilities companies later this year.
"Church investors are deeply committed to supporting workers' access to decent pay and hours," said Edward Carter, chairman of the Church Investors Group, in a news release. "Insecure hours affect too many low-paid workers and without the security minimum hours bring, workers and their families are denied the basic preconditions needed for them to flourish. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this issue even more pressing as a lack of sufficient working hours is causing 'in work' poverty while the insecurity of working hours has a real effect on families' well-being, causing significant stress and leading to mental health issues."
The first step in the effort by the group will be to engage with these companies, a spokeswoman said.
The group has also been a supporter of the Living Wage initiative, which since 2011 has worked to increase the pay of more than 250,000 employees. All the firms with which the group is engaging are already members of the Living Wage initiative, the spokeswoman added.