By Daniel Schneider

Early Career Workers in the Service Sector

Research Brief  Key Points The early career period is an important time for launching one’s career trajectory.  The service sector is a common setting for early career workers. The Shift Project study provides an opportunity to examine working conditions for early career workers in the service sector along multiple dimensions and to make comparisons across demographic groups, industry subsector, and across companies within industry subsectors. Early career workers report prioritizing not just pay but also predictability in their work schedules. Yet, pay is often low and schedule predictability is often lacking. Precarious working conditions are the norm for early career...

Half of Service Sector Workers Are Not Yet Vaccinated for COVID-19: What Gets in the Way?

Research Brief Introduction As eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine expands to all Americans and the country moves towards a full re-opening, durably returning to normal life depends on vaccine uptake. The U.S. developed and produced vaccines at record speed and, initially, the rate of daily administered doses rose sharply from January to April 2021. Since May 2021, however, the pace of rollout has declined and many remain unvaccinated. Service sector workers are at the center of commercial life and staffed the front lines during the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Understanding the barriers holding service workers back from accessing...

Paid Family and Medical Leave in the U.S. Service Sector

Read the Full Report Here  Executive Summary Each year, millions of U.S. workers experience the need for time away from work after welcoming a new child to the family or because of a health or a caregiving need. However, the U.S. is one of the few industrialized countries that does not offer comprehensive paid leave with job protection to workers. While some benefit from paid family and medical leave offered by a handful of states, the large majority of American workers have no such protections. Voluntary employer leave policies overwhelmingly benefit white-collar, salaried workers, leaving most low-wage workers unpaid and...
A photo of Seattle buildings in the International District and Pioneer Square, including Smith Tower and the clock tower at King Street Station.

Seattle’s Secure Scheduling Ordinance: Year 2 Worker Impact Report

Read the Full Report Here  Foreword from the SSO Evaluation Team On July 1, 2017, Seattle implemented one of the nation’s first laws mandating schedule predictability for a subset of workers. The Secure Scheduling Ordinance (SSO) covers hourly workers at retail and food service establishments with 500 or more employees worldwide and at full-service restaurants with at least 500 employees and at least 40 locations worldwide. As mandated by the Ordinance, the Seattle Office of City Auditor engaged a team of researchers with expertise in working conditions to conduct an evaluation of the law’s impacts in the first and second...

Paid Sick Leave in Virginia: Evidence from the Shift Project

Research Brief Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a bright light on the difficult working conditions faced by many workers in the service sector.  Workers in retail, food service, delivery and fulfillment positions are now lauded as “essential” and front-line heroes, yet, even in the midst of this praise, and in the midst of a pandemic, these same workers often lack the basic ability to take a paid sick day. The Federal Families Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCRA) provided paid sick leave (PSL) coverage to millions of private sector workers for the first time. However, this important legislation specifically exempts large...

COVID-19 Safety Measures Update

Research Brief COVID-19 has made service sector jobs much more dangerous. But, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines to prevent infections in the workplace, employers were largely left to adopt measures at their own discretion. Scattered reports suggested that these efforts often fell short, especially early in the pandemic and that substantial variation in the adoption of safety practices persisted across states and firms.  Between March of 2020 and May of 2020, The Shift Project surveyed 12,231 service sector workers employed at 107 of the country’s largest retail, food service, grocery, hardware, and delivery and...

Unemployed Without a Net

Few Unemployed Service Sector Workers Received UI and Many Experienced Hardships Research Brief The effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. labor market has been profound. In the early weeks of the outbreak, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4% in February to almost 15% in April of 2020. Although the economy has partially recovered since April, as of August 2020, the unemployment rate stood at over 8%, more than twice as high as it had been just 6 months prior. The economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak has been particularly severe for service sector workers. As state-wide orders to...
A pair of hands wearing protective rubber gloves holding a bunch of thin surgical masks

Essential and Unprotected: COVID-19-Related Health and Safety Procedures for Service-Sector Workers

Research Brief Press Release Download the data The coronavirus outbreak has had a massive impact on public health and the economy. In the United States, the 25 million workers employed in the service sector have been hit particularly hard by the health and economic crisis. Workers in some segments of the retail and food-service industries have experienced reductions in hours as well as widespread layoffs due to store closures or dramatically reduced demand. At the same time, workers employed in the grocery, delivery, and pharmacy sectors have been designated as “essential” workers and are experiencing an entirely different set of...
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