DIEP RRTC

Disability and Precarious Work

Authors: Lisa Schur & Douglas L. Kruse
View Abstract/ Download Publication: Disability and Precarious Work
Abstract: This chapter examines the prevalence, causes, and consequences of precarious work among people with disabilities. New US evidence from the government’s Current Population Survey, and reviews of prior studies, show that workers with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to be in precarious jobs. This is explained in part by many people with disabilities choosing precarious jobs due to the flexibility these jobs can provide. Other people with disabilities, however, face prejudice and discrimination in obtaining standard jobs and must resort to taking precarious jobs with less security, lower pay and benefits, little or no training and opportunities for advancement, and few, if any, worker protections. Workers with disabilities tend to have worse outcomes on these measures than workers without disabilities in every type of employment arrangement. The disability pay gap is higher in precarious jobs than in full-time permanent jobs. The mixed evidence suggests that precarious jobs create good employment outcomes for some workers with disabilities but bad outcomes for others. While continued efforts are needed to decrease barriers to traditional employment for people with disabilities, efforts are also needed to bring higher pay and greater legal protections to precarious workers, which would especially benefit workers with disabilities.

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