Over the last decade, fast-food restaurants have proliferated in the United States, with the largest increase in Los Angeles County. Fast food is an integral part of the food sector in Los Angeles, comprising nearly 150,000 restaurant workers. This report investigates working conditions in fast food prior to the pandemic, profiles the industry’s demographics and cost to the public, and examines the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
Public Cost of Low-Wage Work
California Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies
A new report by UCLA and UC Berkeley finds that working conditions in the Los Angeles fast-food industry lead to an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission in communities of color as well as high public costs.
The Raise the Wage Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, proposes a national $15 minimum wage to be fully implemented in 2025. This paper looks at the cost of five public safety net programs for families of workers who would receive a direct wage increase under this bill. We find that close to half of these families (47%) are enrolled in at least one program, at an annual cost of $107 billion.
The study finds that nationally, the families of close to half the workers who would benefit from the Raise the Wage Act are enrolled in a public safety net program because their jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet – at an annual cost of $107 billion in public funds.
This data brief estimates the public cost to Georgia and the federal government from the use of safety net programs by low-wage working families who would be directly affected by an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. We find that just over half of these Georgia families (51%) are enrolled in at least one safety net program, at an annual cost of $4.7 billion.
Study: Low Georgia Wages Cost Taxpayers $4.7 billion. Families of more than half of Georgia workers who would receive pay increases under a $15 minimum wage are enrolled in a public safety net program.
In decades past, production workers employed in manufacturing earned wages significantly higher than the U.S. average, but by 2013 the typical manufacturing production worker made 7.7 percent below the median wage for all occupations.
Working families comprise nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollments in America’s major public benefits programs and account for 63 percent of total program costs.1 The paychecks of many low-wage workers…