Adults in nonstandard work arrangements experience greater hardship than workers with more traditional forms of employment.
Individuals in nonstandard work arrangements, including temporary work, contract positions, and those in the "gig" economy, struggle to pay for housing, food, and healthcare at measurably higher rates than their counterparts in more traditional fields and professions, according to analysis of available data.
The experiences of these workers are a growing concern for policymakers. Though many workers with nonstandard employment prefer these arrangements to more traditional jobs, the lack of benefits and protections associated with a traditional employer-employee relationship, particularly for low-wage workers, could undermine the well-being of workers and their families.
In December 2020, more than one in four employed nonelderly adults (25.9%) was engaged in nonstandard work, including nearly one in five (19.4%) who reported nonstandard work at their main job. · Regarding individuals with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), 58.4 percent of those in nonstandard work arrangements reported material hardship compared to 47.7 percent of traditional workers.
Workers in traditional employment arrangements were much likelier to have employee-sponsored health insurance than workers with nonstandard jobs (80.9% versus 55.4%).
Nearly 26 percent of employed non-elderly adults are employed through nonstandard work arrangements.
Nonstandard work arrangements were most common among low-income workers.
Researchers determine that a strong connection exists between alternative work arrangements and material hardship, especially among lower-income workers.
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Work and Health: What Does the Future Hold?
RWJF is exploring how changes in the nature and structure of work may impact the health equity and well-being of people, their families, and their communities.