Category Archives: Employment

Wages for Housework – Room for Debate –

Wages for Housework – Room for Debate – [featuring, among others, Noah Zatz].

Bad luck meets bad policy: Why it can be so hard to get the unemployed back to work – The Washington Post

Bad luck meets bad policy: Why it can be so hard to get the unemployed back to work – The Washington Post.

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate –

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate –

Call-for-Papers: “Applied Feminism and Work” — Univ. of Baltimore, Mar. 5-6, 2015.

Call-for-Papers: “Applied Feminism and Work” — Univ. of Baltimore, Mar. 5-6, 2015.  Deadline for submissions is Oct. 31, 2014.  The call and additional information can be found here.  

New Issue of Stanford’s Pathways Magazine on “Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty”

New Issue of Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality’s Pathways Magazine on “Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty” (Summer 2014).  Contents below:

Table of Contents – Summer 2014

Editors’ Note by David Grusky, Charles Varner, and Michelle Poulin


  •  Do Millionaires Migrate When Tax Rates Are Raised?
    Cristobal Young and Charles Varner
    The millionaire tax is all the rage. But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warns us, “Ladies and gentlemen, if you tax them, they will leave.” Is he right?

Research in Brief

  • Research in Brief
    Michelle Poulin and Marybeth Mattingly
    The effects of the carework revolution on job polarization; new results on the mobility of the super-rich; and the best research to date on the Hispanic Health Paradox

Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty



New Article: “Seeing Work, Envisioning Citizenship”

New Article: Noah Zatz & Eileen Boris, Seeing Work, Envisioning Citizenship, 18 Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal 95 (2014).  Abstract below:

This short symposium essay surveys the relationships between identifying workers and identifying social citizens. We analyze worker status along dimensions of livelihood, production, discipline, and status. Each of these illuminates but also troubles the conventional conflation of work and employment. That trouble arises in part because an activity’s legibility as work often draws on racialized and gendered understandings of that activity and those who perform it, as in the case of domestic work. Understanding the constructed and contested nature of work both explicates and complicates the appeal of more inclusive accounts of work as a strategy of social inclusion.

New Article: “Hours Equity is the New Pay Equity”

New Article: Nantiya Ruan & Nancy Reichman, Hours Equity is the New Pay Equity, 59 Villanova L. Rev. 35 (2014).  Abstract from SSRN below:

At the dawning of the fifty-year anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and as the same anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 draws near, it is time to change the way we think about pay equity. Workplace fairness between women and men should no longer be framed merely by total disparities in pay, but also by disparities in hours given to women seeking as much work as their male counterparts. Doing so recognizes the realities of many female workers in today’s workplace and addresses the shortfalls thus far absent from the civil rights conversation about pay equity.

Today’s workforce is filled with female contingent workers who are at the mercy of their supervisors as to the number of hours they work. The number of part-time workers has steadily increased over the last decade, with involuntary part-time workers (those forced to downgrade from full-time to part-time because of economic conditions or the employer’s needs) numbering 8.2 million and the total number of part-time workers exceeding 27 million. Two-thirds of part-time workers are women, and as the Congressional Joint Economic Committee has recognized, the gender pay gap is partly driven by the earning penalty for part-time work, which pays less per hour than the same or equivalent work done by full-timers.

One under-examined factor in this pay inequity is the power of scheduling that employer supervisors have over their part-time work force. From the outside, supervisors seemingly make capricious decisions on whom to schedule, when, and for how many hours. When individual supervisors make these unilateral decisions without regard to employment standards or criteria, they appear to do so with little oversight and guidance, which can lead to discriminatory bias based on gender. This gender bias can be motivated (consciously or unconsciously) by societal stereotypes casting women as less than “ideal workers” with weak commitment to the workplace because of outside caregiving responsibilities.

From a doctrinal standpoint, however, the current statutory regimes seem ill suited to address these disparities. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 merely mandates minimum and overtime wages, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 does not cover hours equity, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s anti-discrimination mandate rarely (if ever) reaches the issue of scheduling and is therefore sorely underdeveloped. Moreover, due to recent Supreme Court decisions dramatically restricting employment discrimination class actions, bringing aggregate litigation for low-wage workers will be an uphill battle, one attorneys are likely loathe to take on for relatively low damages.

This Article makes the case for changing the way we think about pay equity. Because our workforce is filled with part-time workers, advocates for low-wage workers should focus not only on pay inequities and living wages, but also on hours equity. Hours equity would provide much-needed stability to scheduling that would allow female part-time workers to have a reliable schedule with guaranteed hours so that they make an expected amount of pay.

Governing Global Garment Production (Parts I & II) – Concurring Opinions

Governing Global Garment Production (Pt. I) – Concurring Opinions.


Governing Global Garment Production (Pt. II) – Concurring Opinions. 

New Article: “From Weight Checking to Wage Checking: Arming Workers to Combat Wage Theft”

New Article: Matthew Finkin, From Weight Checking to Wage Checking: Arming Workers to Combat Wage Theft, Indiana L.J. (forthcoming 2014).  Abstract below:

The plight of low wage workers is drawing increased attention and with it proposals for a better address to the problem of wage theft. Giving workers legal voice via collective bargaining is not thought practicable. Consequently, the proposals offered thus far are directed to the labor inspectorates, federal and state, or call for better coordination with or reliance on voluntary groups in civil society, especially worker centers. This article essays a return to a model of representation geared to wage theft in coal mining a century ago. Thirteen states enacted such laws; some are still on the books. This essay proposes to revitalize this model as a means of assuring conformity with wage and hour laws and as a potential step toward collective representation.

Call-for-Papers and Conference: Child poverty, youth (un)employment and social inclusion

Call for Papers and Conference: “Child poverty, youth (un)employment and social inclusion,” Nov. 19-21, 2014, Athens, Greece.  Organized by CROP, the Institute of Labour, and Democritus University of Thrace.  Deadline for Submission of Abstracts, May 30, 2014.