While essential workers have received a lot of acknowledgment for working through the COVID-19 pandemic, recent reports and surveys have found that these workers are facing many challenges concerning their health and financial situations. OSHA has allowed individual employers to set their own safety standards and protocols, leading to discrepancies.
Former director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, discusses how COVID has prevented millions of Americans from being there for one another in meaningful moments, but that for the economically disadvantaged this was already a common experience. The Shift Project has examined how many workers at the largest retail and food companies have back-to-back closing and opening shifts, unstable work schedules, and are required to be on-call.
Come January 2021, the Virginia General Assembly will resume debates over whether or not employers should be required to provide paid sick leave. According to recent data from The Shift Project, about 1.2 million Virginians lack paid sick time or family leave.
The Shift Project’s Fall ’20 survey asked employees at the largest retail and food companies about PPE practices, revealing a significant percentage of workers unable to socially distance and dealing with customers unwilling to mask. There is notable variance between employers as well, based on cultural and political reasons.
According to The Shift Project’s survey, only a third of Virginia workers at the largest service sector employers have access to paid sick leave. There is a significant difference across industries, with 93 percent of employees at hardware and building supply stores reporting access and only 7 percent of workers at casual dining restaurants.
According to research conducted by The Shift Project, only a third of workers at the 103 largest service sector industry employers in Virginia have access to paid sick leave. Additional comments by Daniel Schneider and Virginia advocates further explain the implications of this research and how Virginia is looking to address the issue.
In a new paper, Daniel Schneider, Peter Tufano, and Annamaria Lusardi examine household economic fragility during the COVID outbreak. They find that there is no evidence of an economic recovery in household finances, rather there is evidence of a second wave of negative shocks, and the end of the CARES Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits further increased financial fragility.
New first-time weekly unemployment claims sit at 898,000 as of mid-October. Various studies examine the economic hardships experienced as a result of the COVID pandemic and the effects that access, or lack of access, to benefits has on unemployed workers.
The Shift Project’s brief on unemployment insurance (UI) reveals notable differences in access to the benefit across US states. In Florida, only 8% of the sample that had applied had been paid. There is further contextualization of the FL data, with details on the technological challenges faced in the state.
The Harvard Gazette covers the release of The Shift Project’s new research brief on service sector workers’ access to unemployment insurance (UI). Both Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett discuss the research and further explain the barriers workers face when seeking UI benefits.