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

See all articles by Stephen Aikins

Stephen Aikins

University of South Florida

Joan E. Pynes

University of South Florida

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Aikins, Stephen and Pynes, Joan E., The Vulnerability of Low Wage Human Service Workers in Retirement: Policy Implications (2011). Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, Spring 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2486661

Stephen Aikins

University of South Florida ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

Joan E. Pynes (Contact Author)

University of South Florida ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

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