Many people in precarious employment are putting their health at risk by not taking sick leave, while more are suffering with their mental health.
A new TASC (The Think Tank for Action on Social Change) study found that precarious workers felt financially unable to take time off if unwell.
Participants also reported numerous occasions where they or others were injured on the job but continued to work.
Workers who are employed on a temporary or if-and-when basis are not entitled to paid leave.
TASC say people working part-time and on zero hour contracts are more likely to experience in-work poverty. Many participants described suffering with depression and anxiety due to being unable to buy food or pay their bills.
The group says four in ten people employed are not protected by a standard or permanent contract.
Sinead Pembroke, the lead author of the report, said: “This research reveals that precarious work, for a high number of people, is simply not conducive to having a decent standard of living, to having a family, securing a home or even going to the doctor if you’re sick.
“It is also imposing ‘forced infantilization’ on many younger workers, by making them dependent on parents or family for much longer than they would wish.
“Permanent full-time workers also experience many of these challenges. But, the insecurity of contracts and unpredictability of hours and wages puts precarious workers at an even greater risk of poverty and material deprivation, of stress and anxiety and entrapment in a life without basic choices.
“Business needs cannot come before workers’ needs as a Government policy.”