Employment and Workplace
Turning research into actionA Business Case for Improving the Well-being of Essential Shift Workers
It is with good reason that there has been an outpouring of support for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential workers have tended to the sick, responded to emergencies, and kept the food supply intact, thus permitting the rest of society to have continued access to health care and basic necessities, and to remain safe and, for the most part, comfortable. As has been reported, Black and Latino workers make up a large share of the essential workforce, and these demographic groups have experienced higher rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Discrimination, disparate access to health services, higher rates of chronic illness, lower incomes, and deficiencies in housing and other social determinants of health have all contributed to the higher risk of COVID-19–related illness and death among racial and ethnic minorities.
Children and FamiliesCombating Unstable Schedules for Low-wage Workers in Oregon
The advent of just-in-time scheduling technology and practices in the mid-1990s has led to increased schedule instability, resulting in a growing movement to address the need for predictable, stable schedules for workers paid low wages. Unstable schedules have been associated with earnings instability, increased stress and fatigue, sleep irregularity, and worse mental health outcomes for workers. In this report, P4A researchers Amelia Coffey, Eleanor Lauderback and H. Elizabeth Peters, along with their partners at the University of Oregon’s Department of Sociology Lola Loustaunau, Larissa Petrucci, Ellen Scott and Lina Stepick, examine Oregon’s implementation of S.B. 828, the first statewide predictive scheduling law in the nation, in its first year.
Employment and WorkplaceConsequences of Work Requirements in Arkansas: Two-Year Impacts on Coverage, Employment, and Affordability of Care
Arkansas implemented Medicaid work requirements in June of 2018. To maintain coverage in the state, adults ages 30-49 were required to work 20 hours a week, participate in “community engagement” activities, or qualify for an exemption. By April 2019, when a federal judge halted the policy, more than 18,000 adults had lost coverage. As an update to research published in 2018, Benjamin D. Sommers, Lucy Chen, Robert J. Blendon, E. John Orav, and Arnold M. Epstein analyzed the policy effects before, during, and after implementation in this Health Affairs brief.
Employment and WorkplaceThe Impact of Shift Work on Employers’ Health Care Costs
Despite extensive research showing that shift work compromises employee health, jobs that require work outside the traditional daytime hours of 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM have become ubiquitous across economically developed nations. Employers enact work scheduling policies based on the needs of company stakeholders and without evidence of the effect of shift work on health care costs, even though the companies ultimately bear the majority of those costs. Researchers Megan McHugh, Dustin D. French, Mary M. Kwasny, Claude R. Maechling, and Jane L. Holl examined the additional health care costs incurred by two large manufacturing companies due to their shift work requirements in this brief published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Children and FamiliesAmong Low-Income Women In San Francisco, Low Awareness of Paid Parental Leave Benefits Inhibit Take-Up
Paid family leave policies have the potential to reduce health disparities, yet access to paid leave remains limited and unevenly distributed in the United States. The US is the only OECD country that does not provide paid leave for new parents, and just 8 states and the District of Columbia have passed partially-paid family leave policies. In a new paper, Julia Goodman of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Will Dow of UC Berkeley, and Holly Elser of Stanford University examine the impact of the 2017 San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO), the first in the US to provide parental leave with full pay.
Children and FamiliesExpanded Job Protection Improves Racial and Socioeconomic Equity of Parental Leave Access
Paid family and medical leave has important health benefits for parents and their children, but access to job-protected leave is limited and highly disparate in the United States. Increasingly, state and local governments have established policies such as paid leave to support parents and other caregivers. While these policies have been crucial in enabling more workers to take leave, their effects have been weakened due to only partial coverage of job protection laws. As part of their ongoing work evaluating the 2017 San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, investigators Julia M. Goodman (Oregon Health & Science University/Portland State University) and William H. Dow (University of California, Berkeley) published an issue brief examining paid leave protections in the California Bay Area.
Employment and WorkplaceShift work and long work hours and their association with chronic health conditions: A systematic review of systematic reviews with meta-analyses
Jobs that require work outside the traditional daytime hours of approximately 8 AM to 6 PM have become ubiquitous across economically developed nations, but extensive research shows that shift work and long work hours may compromise employee health. Although employers recognize the potential harmful effects of shift work, many argue in favor of maintaining it, citing the nature of the work requiring a 24/7 schedule (e.g., public safety), maximization of production capacity in response to consumer demand, and in some cases, employee preference for long shifts to maximize days off and pay. In recent publications, P4A researcher Megan McHugh, doctoral student Adovich Rivera, and their colleagues from Northwestern’s Manufacturing and Health Research Program provide evidence on how shift work affects the incidence of chronic illness and overall worker well-being.
Employment and WorkplaceMandated Sick Pay: Coverage, Utilization, and Welfare Effects
The United States is one of three OECD countries that does not provide universal access to paid sick leave for all employees. Over the past years, just 12 states have passed sick pay mandates. In a new working paper, P4A researcher Nicolas R. Ziebarth of Cornell University and colleagues Catherine Maclean and Stefan Pichler provide first-of-its-kind evidence on how state-level sick pay mandates affect coverage rates, sick leave utilization, and labor costs.
Children and FamiliesWhy Making Parents’ Work Schedules More Predictable Could Benefit Kids
As shoppers prepare for the holidays with trips to the mall, supermarket, and big box stores, many workers who stock the shelves and work the registers are scrambling to piece together child care to match their unpredictable work schedules.
Children and FamiliesWho Cares If Parents Have Unpredictable Work Schedules?: The Association Between Just-in-Time Work Schedules and Child Care Arrangements
Low-income working parents often face routine uncertainty in their schedules because of “just-in-time” scheduling practices that offer workers little notice of when they will be expected to work. In a new working paper, Kristen Harknett, Daniel Schneider, and Sigrid Luhr of P4A’s Research Hub at University of California, Berkeley, examine the consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules on child care arrangements.
Children and FamiliesCaring for Our Families and Ourselves is Personal. The Need for Paid Leave is Universal.
When it comes to supporting families through paid family and medical leave policies, the U.S. lags behind other developed nations. What explains the lack of policy action? Perhaps we have not acknowledged paid leave policy for what it really is: a critical backbone of support that follows workers through all the major moments of their lives.
Employment and WorkplaceMedicaid Work Requirements: Results from the First Year in Arkansas
In June 2018, Arkansas became the first state to implement work requirements in Medicaid. Benjamin D. Sommers, Anna L. Goldman, Robert J. Blendon, E. John Orav, and Arnold M. Epstein of Harvard University provide the first independent assessment of early changes in beneficiary coverage and employment after the work requirements went into effect.