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On October 28, Nari Rhee provided testimony at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing to examine building a stronger retirement system for all Americans, focusing on a financially secure future.
Good morning Chairman Casey, Ranking Member Scott, and members of the Committee. I am Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you. As other witnesses have testified, there are large structural gaps in the employer-sponsored retirement system. I would like delve a bit into the kinds of workers who are left out, and why.
The US retirement system, outside of Social Security, was never designed to include certain jobs and employment relationships: low-wage jobs, part-time jobs, high-turnover jobs, private household employment, and self-employment in low-earning sectors. Workers of color are disproportionately affected by the resulting disparities in coverage. It’s also important to recognize that large swaths of the care workforce – consisting mostly of women – are excluded, whether it’s nannies and homecare workers employed by families, or family based childcare providers who operate as small businesses.
Looking forward, we need a holistic policy approach to ensure true financial security for all workers – one that incorporates wage policy, Social Security reform, tax policy, and a universal retirement savings system.