The Vulnerability of Low Wage Human Service Workers in Retirement: Policy Implications
Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, Spring 2011
17 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2011
This article recognizes how the recession is affecting the U. S. workforce. Despite the high unemployment rate across most of the country, one area that is anticipated to have higher employment growth is the provision of human services. Unfortunately, human service workers tend to receive low compensation. This paper examines the effect of low incomes on the retirement security of many low wage workers, most of who are women. Studies show that many low wage employees are unable to save toward retirement. Based on an analysis of retirement income projections performed by the U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and other researchers, and of a field experiment conducted by the Retirement Security Project of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and H&R Block, we argue that women are exposed to the risk of poverty in their retirement years unless practical measures are taken to address the problem. We call for a combination of the re-examination of the compensation and public policy changes to help improve the wages and retirement savings of low wage human service workers.
Keywords: Low wage workers, retirements, pensions, human service workers, poverty in retirement
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