Working poor is a global poverty issues deeply rooted in our society that requires reforms on government policy, social systems and gender inequality instead of simply providing social welfare (Munger, 2007). The poverty line in Hong Kong is half of the median household income. In 2015, one-person family’s monthly income below $3,800 while two-person family’s monthly income below HK$8,800 are considered to be poor (Carvalho, 2017). Besides of policy reform and setting up minimum wage policy, unionization helps to gather the bargaining power of working poor of specific occupations to negotiate reasonable wage with employers as protection of employees (Brady, Baker & Finnigan, 2013). In the hope of solving child poverty from these families, the government is suggested to take actions to enhance family-friendly policy, reform of education policy as well as children welfare policy (Rainwater & Smeeding, 2005; 香港社會聯會, 2013).
Carvalho, R. (2017, 2017-10-12, January 01). Explain This: what does it mean to be poor in Hong Kong, and how many people live in poverty? SCMP. Hong Kong.
The poverty rate of Hong kong stands up to approximately 19.7% implying that the gap between the rich and the poor. These families in poverty face great difficulties in coping with basic expenditures such as rising rents. They are trapped in the vicious cycle as most of them work as casual workers with limited protection and welfare from their employers. CITATION
何喜華. (2018, 2018-02-13, December 23). 【扶貧．來稿】低津報喜不報憂 願「零」在職貧窮不是夢. 香港01. 香港.
Brady, D. et al. (2013). When Unionization Disappears:State-Level Unionization and Working Poverty in the United States. American Sociological Review, 78(5), 872–896.
This paper examines the impact of institution, policies and unionization on the working poor. Unionization have significant influence on reducing working poverty and do not discourage employment. CITATION
Burkhauser, R. V. & Finegan, T. A. (1989). The minimum wage and the poor: The end of a relationship. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 8(1), 53–71.
This article identifies the transformation of working poor as an outcome of minimum-wage legislation by reviewing household income of the working poor for the past few decades. Authors questioned if minimum wage is a good social policy despite the working poor are having much higher income than those under poverty line. CITATION
Lohmann, H. (2009). Welfare States, Labour Market Institutions and the Working Poor: A Comparative Analysis of 20 European Countries. European Sociological Review, 25(4), 489–504.
This article combines a micro-macro models to review the incidence of working poverty and the outcome of social transfer in European countries. Measures of social welfare, social security system and labour market have close connection to working poverty. CITATION
Smith, A. et al. (2008). The Emergence of a Working Poor: Labour Markets, Neoliberalisation and Diverse Economies in Post-Socialist Cities. Antipode, 40(2), 283–311.
This paper investigate how the working poor and their family avoid being excluded in the labour market as they face different drawbacks with employment insecurity, rapid changes of economic and labour practice. For the contemporary society, class are being remade as well as the meaning of work and livelihoods. CITATION
Andersson, F. et al. (2006). Moving up or moving on: Who advances in the low-wage labor market?. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
This book covers discuss the interactions between low earners and their employers over 9 years to investigate the characteristics of successful career outcomes in terms of “moving on” to switch their employers in different firms or “moving up” for upper level at the same firm. CITATION
Munger, F. (2007). Laboring Below The Line: The New Ethnography of Poverty, Low-Wage Work, and Survival in the Global Economy. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
This book bridges a group of people including working poor, recipients of social welfare and people being underpaid to a wide range of qualitative scholars from different discipline from enthnography, history and sociology to overview how poverty is being deeply rooted and affecting our society. CITATION
Rainwater, L. & Smeeding, T. (2005). Poor kids in a rich country: America’s children in comparative perspective. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
This book focus on children from working poor families in United States and other developed countries. Child poverty is contributed by different social policies and strategies of earnings transfer by the government such as setting up children welfare and benefits, family-friendly policies, reform of education policy. CITATION