The retail sector is an integral part of the Los Angeles landscape with almost half a million
workers in the county, and 147,157 workers in the city. Retail makes up one-tenth of
the private sector workforce in the county and is its second largest employer. Yet more
than half of the county’s workforce earn low wages. In the past few years, local and
statewide policies have focused on transforming low-wage work, including a raise in the
minimum wage, increased worker protections, and required paid time off. Despite the
statewide strengthening of workers’ rights protections, the unreliable hours and unpredictable
schedules endemic in the retail industry mean these benefits become inaccessible
to many workers. In part, the retail industry relies on scheduling practices that are
not good for workers, such as forcing them to wait for their weekly schedules with only
a few days notice. These practices not only undercut workers’ hours and their expectations
thereof, but also their incomes, and can make it nearly impossible for workers to
realize full and healthy lives.
Hour Crisis: Unstable Schedules in the Los Angeles Retail Sector explores worker hours
and scheduling practices for “frontline floor” staff that include salespersons, cashiers,
stockers, and food workers in large and chain stores. We used a participatory and research
justice approach and worked with students, workers, and community partners to
collect and analyze the data. Using mixed-sampling methodology, we collected a total
of 818 surveys. In addition, we analyzed government data and conducted an extensive
review of existing policy and academic literature on the topic.
Everyone gets sick, but more than a million workers in North Carolina have no opportunity to earn paid sick leave, and even fewer can take longer-term paid leave to address a serious health condition or welcome a new child. When illness inevitably strikes, they must take unpaid time off—sacrificing their wages so they can get well or take care of sick loved ones or recover from pregnancy. They may even face retaliation from their employers and could lose their jobs. North Carolina needs an economy that works for all and ensures broadly shared prosperity.
Research has shown that paid leave policies, such as earned paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance, benefit workers, businesses, and the economy as a whole. Providing workers with paid sick days keeps sick workers at home, preventing contagion from spreading to other workers and customers, and giving them the time they need to fully recover and return to normal levels of productivity. In turn, this boosts businesses bottom lines by reducing turnover and the costs associated with training new employees.
Ensuring workers have paid time off to welcome a newborn, recover from childbirth, or deliver extended medical care to a loved one provides yields similar economic benefits, along with keeping new women attached to the workforce and earning higher wages in the years after childbirth than those that don’t. Additionally, providing paid family leave to all workers, regardless of business size, helps level the playing field for small businesses which have often have trouble matching the more generous leave policies of larger employers.