Almost twice as many “piece-rate” workers suffer from workplace injuries as those on standard contracts, according to research from Lancaster University Management School.
The study also concluded that the increased productivity gained from using piece-rate workers is therefore lost through increased absence and the cost of compensation.
The report looked at the experiences of 33,000 employees in a variety of sectors across Europe and found that 14.4% of piece-rate workers had suffered from workplace injury, compared with 7.5% of non-piece-rate employees.
Taking into account greater levels of hazard and strain involved in particular jobs, such workers were 5% more likely to suffer an injury when on a piece-rate contract.
Report author Dr Colin Green said: “Despite controls for workplace hazards, job characteristics and worker effort, piece-rate workers suffer a five percentage point greater likelihood of injury.
“As piece-rate wage premium estimates rarely control for injury likelihood, this raises the spectre that part of that premium reflects a compensating wage differential for risk of injury,” he added.