Piece-rate workers are prone to injury

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.

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