By Daniel Schneider

Paid Sick Leave in Washington State: Evidence on Employee Outcomes, 2016–2018

Abstract Objectives. To estimate if Washington State’s paid sick leave law increased access to paid sick leave, reduced employees’ working while sick, and relieved care burdens. Methods. I drew on new data from 12?772 service workers collected before and after the law took effect in January 2018 in Washington State and over the same time period in comparison states that did not have paid sick leave requirements. I used difference-in-difference models to estimate the effects of the law. Results. The law expanded workers’ access to paid sick leave by 28 percentage points (P?<?.001). The law reduced the share of workers who reported working...

Most Hourly Workers at Large Service Sector Firms Still Lack Paid Sick Leave

Research Brief Paid sick leave is essential for worker well-being and the public health, yet the United States does not have a federal law guaranteeing workers access to paid sick leave. Rather, paid sick leave remains subject to company discretion and a limited number of state and local laws and varies greatly across occupations. In this brief, we examine the current state of paid sick leave access in the service sector, an industry making up almost a fifth of the United States workforce and containing some of its most vulnerable workers. Over three years since the COVID-19 pandemic first drew...

Racial/Ethnic and Gender Inequities in the Sufficiency of Paid Leave During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the Service Sector

Read the Full Article Background Access to paid family and medical leave (PFML), including leave to care for a seriously ill loved one or recover from one’s own serious illness, conveys health and economic benefits for workers and their families. However, without a national PFML policy, access to paid leave remains limited and unequal. Previous work documenting inequitable access by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity primarily focuses on parental leave, measures theoretical access to paid leave rather than actual leave uptake, and lacks an accounting for why workers of color and women may have less access to PFML. We extend this...

Mitigating the Impacts of Sexual Harassment: Evidence from a National Survey of Retail and Restaurant Workers

Research Brief Workplace sexual harassment and violence inflict a variety of costs on survivors, raising important questions about prevention: changing the conditions that give rise to the problem in the first place. So long as sexual harassment and violence persist, mitigating their impacts and creating clear channels for recourse will also remain crucial, shaping the wellbeing and agency of survivors in navigating a way forward.  Drawing on data from a national survey of retail and food service workers conducted as part of the Shift Project, the current study traces some key impacts of workplace sexual harassment and how they are...

The Politics of Prevention: Polarization in How Workplace COVID-19 Safety Practices Shaped the Well-Being of Frontline Service Sector Workers

Read the Full Article The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reshaped the labor market, especially for service sector workers. Frontline service sector workers, already coping with precarious working conditions, faced proximate risks of COVID-19 transmission on the job and navigated new workplace safety measures, including masking, social distancing, and staying home while sick, all in a polarized political environment. We examine polarization in the effects of COVID-19 workplace safety measures on workers’ feelings of safety and well-being. Specifically, we examine how support for former President Trump moderates the relationship between COVID-19 safety practices (masking, social distancing, staying home while sick) and workers’...

Dreams Deferred: Downward Mobility and Making Ends Meet in the Service Sector

Research Brief Nearly one-in-five jobs in the United State are in the service sector, including in retail, grocery, pharmacy, fast food, and fulfillment, but there are countervailing views on who works these jobs and to what end. One view in the public imaginary is that service-sector employment is dominated by workers who are temporarily in this line of work and using it as a source of extra income or as a first rung on a ladder towards career growth and economic opportunity (Selyukh, 2021). But, an alternative view is that many workers rely on service sector work to get by—and...

Why Are Young Workers Leaving Their Jobs?

Research Brief The American labor market has experienced dramatic changes since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in the early spring of 2020, with historic job losses followed by a sharp employment recovery. Since 2021, the pandemic labor market has entered a third phase, with a dramatic reshuffling of workers in the labor market. Commonly referred to as the “Great Resignation,” workers have left their jobs at extraordinary rates, particularly younger workers. While some argue that young workers left their jobs to rely on the federal stimulus money or other forms of public assistance, others believe that young workers...

Working in The Service Sector in Michigan

Research Brief Service sector jobs in the United States are characterized by low pay, few fringe benefits, and limited employee control over scheduled workdays and times. Many service sector employers across the country rely on just-in-time and on-call scheduling practices designed to minimize labor costs by closely aligning staffing with consumer demand. These practices can introduce significant instability into the lives of workers and their families. This research brief is part of a series designed to advance our understanding of working conditions in the service sector—in particular, schedule instability and unpredictability—in cities and states across the country. Since 2016, The Shift Project...

Mandates Narrow Gender Gaps In Paid Sick Leave Coverage For Low-Wage Workers In The US

Read the Full Article Paid sick leave helps workers recover from illness and manage care obligations and protects public health. Yet access to paid sick leave remains limited and unequal in the United States. Drawing on surveys of 61,223 service-sector workers collected during the period 2017–21 by the Shift Project, we documented limited access to paid sick leave and stark gender inequality, with women less likely than men to have paid sick leave. Part-time employment and gender segregation by industry subsector each explain part, but not all, of the gender disparity. However, in states and localities that mandate paid sick...

Working in The Service Sector in Colorado [UPDATED]

Research Brief Service sector jobs in the United States are characterized by low pay, few fringe benefits, and limited employee control over scheduled workdays and times. Many service sector employers across the country rely on just-in-time and on-call scheduling practices designed to minimize labor costs by closely aligning staffing with consumer demand. These practices can introduce significant instability into the lives of workers and their families. This research brief is part of a series designed to advance our understanding of working conditions in the service sector—in particular, schedule instability and unpredictability—in cities and states across the country. Since 2016, The Shift Project...
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