By Kristen Harknett

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...
Rendering of the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Essential and Vulnerable: Service-Sector Workers and Paid Sick Leave

Research Brief Press Release Against the backdrop of a global health crisis, service-sector workers are newly visible. While millions of American workers have been instructed to stay home, workers in the grocery, food-service, pharmacy, hardware, and delivery sectors continue to stock stores, fulfill take-out orders, and deliver necessities. Their work is vital to the wellbeing and survival of the population during the coronavirus pandemic. But, these members of the essential workforce are highly vulnerable to the economic and health risks posed by the pandemic. The service sector is large, comprising nearly 20% of the American workforce. Even in good economic...
Grocery store worker stocking egg cartons

Estimates of Workers Who Lack Access to Paid Sick Leave at 91 Large Service Sector Employers

Download the report Download the data The current health and economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is unfolding rapidly. Workers in the retail and food service sectors have been particularly hard hit. Most of these workers were already in a financially precarious position and are now facing income shocks from store closures and reduced hours. Adding to these hardships, many also lack access to paid sick leave and would have to forgo much needed pay, or even risk job loss, if they were to stay home sick. The lack of paid sick leave has serious repercussions for service...
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