The retail industry is booming, but its workers are still paying a price.
A survey of 436 New York City employees ranging in ages from 15 to 62 finds retail employees make an average of $9.50 an hour, with more than half earning less than $10 per hour.About a third of the respondents support a family member on these wages.
The report, “Discounted Jobs: How Retailers Sell Workers Short” was conducted by The Retail Action Project and The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and labour Studies at the City University of New York.
Aside from low wages, lack of health care benefits leaves employees at a disadvantage. Though 29 per cent receive health benefits, the remaining 25 per cent live without insurance while 34% rely on government programs.
The report also says scheduling practices make it difficult for employees to rely on consistent hours and pay. Though the number of employers working part-time has increased from 644,000 in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010, just 17 per cent have a set schedule. “Discounted Jobs” also cites discrimination against women and people of colour.
The study targets several national large retailers for unacceptable practices, including JC Penney, Abercrombie & Fitch, Esprit, Old Navy, and Forever 21.