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

Mandated paid sick leave increased access to paid sick leave benefits and led to reductions in employees’ working while sick. However, covered workers did not experience reductions in work–life conflict in the period immediately following passage.

The Gender Wage Gap, Between-Firm Inequality, and Devaluation: Testing a New Hypothesis in the Service Sector

Unequal sorting of men and women into higher and lower-wage firms contributes significantly to the gender wage gap according to recent analysis of national labor markets. We confirm the importance of this between-firm gender segregation in wages and examine a second outcome of hours using unique employer–employee data from the service sector. We then examine what explains the relationship between firm gender composition and wages. In contrast to prevailing economic explanations that trace between-firm differences in wages to differences in firm surplus, we find evidence consistent with devaluation and potentially a gender-specific use of “low road” employment strategies.

National survey of gig workers paints a picture of poor working conditions, low pay

A survey of gig workers in the spring of 2020 revealed that their jobs provided poor working conditions, even relative to other service-sector workers, who themselves typically receive low pay.

The Company Wage Tracker: Estimates of Wages at 66 Large Service Sector Employers

Low wages are widespread in the service-sector – a sector that makes up nearly 20% of the nation’s workforce. While the COVID-19 crisis has focused public and policy attention on the service-sector, workers in retail, food service, big box stores, pharmacy, hardware, delivery, grocery and other subsectors continue to labor under precarious working conditions. Workers struggle with a lack of paid sick leave, unstable and unpredictable work schedules, and low wages.

Working in the Service Sector in Colorado

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.
Woman wearing face mask using digital tablet to control supermarket's inventory

Still Unstable: The Persistence of Schedule Uncertainty During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic brought public awareness to the vital role that front-line service sector workers play in our economy and daily lives. These workers did the essential and in-person work of staffing grocery stores and pharmacies, keeping restaurants and retail running, and delivering supplies while millions of other Americans sheltered in place and worked from home. The service sector makes up a large sector of the U.S. labor force, accounting for over 23 million jobs. Despite their importance during the pandemic, jobs in this sector are profoundly precarious, undermining both the economic security and the health and wellbeing of workers...

Employee Vaccination Rates in the Retail Sector: Successes and Resistance

Using the most recent shift data, this brief explores how vaccination among service sector workers has changed since the Spring. Vaccination rates have increased to 68% as of Nov 2021. These rates were even higher for employees that were incentivized to get vaccinated by their employer. However, the survey data show that hesitancy and resistance emerge now as the primary barriers to vaccination among the unvaccinated.

Early Career Workers in the Service Sector

For many young workers, the service sector is the site where they begin their careers. The service sector comprises 17 percent of jobs in the U.S. economy, and 35 percent of the jobs occupied by those under the age of 25 (BLS, 2018). Young workers in the service sector typically receive low wages and few fringe benefits, and also contend with erratic work schedules, with hours and shifts that change day to day and week to week with little advance notice. These workers rarely have much input into the timing and amount of their scheduled work hours. These conditions may...

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

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.

Paid Sick Leave in Virginia: Evidence from the Shift Project

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.
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