A weblog about the business of immigrant work: employment, compensation, legal protections, education, mobility, and public policy.

November 21, 2014

How Obama devised his Executive Order

Politico published an article today detailing how Obama and Jeh Johnson, the chief of the Department of Homeland Security, put together his policy to provide provisional protection to millions of undocumented persons. The article describes, among many things, how Congressional efforts to craft an immigration bill fell apart this summer.

The article:

How Obama got here

The president, the Homeland Security secretary and their secret 9-month project to remake America’s broken immigration system.

Nine months ago, the new Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, received a request from the White House. President Obama wanted him to personally take on perhaps the administration’s toughest political assignment: looking for creative ways to fix America’s immigration system without congressional action—or executive overreach.

Just four months into the job, Johnson had been prepared to take on tough security issues: Bombs on planes. Deadly diseases. Radical Islamists carrying U.S. passports. As the Pentagon’s chief counsel, Johnson had routinely dealt with contentious national security matters, finding himself in the midst of sensitive political fights like whether and how to close Guantanamo Bay, allowing gays in the military, and the rapid expansion of America’s killer drone program.

He wasn’t prepared for a crisis of purely political making.

Just days earlier Obama had been labeled the “deporter in chief” by a top Hispanic leader and ally, furious over the inaction by a president who seemed trapped between the demands of his supporters to allow millions of long-time residents who lacked documentation to stay in the country, and the seemingly endless foot-dragging of Republicans.

That request to Johnson would prove critical: a moment when the president set on the path of a much more ambitious change than the narrow changes in civil enforcement policy he and his aides had initially explored. In the remaining months of 2014, Obama would come to support a sweeping executive action to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country, as Congress lurched from willingness to consider changes to strained immigration laws to refusing to tackle the issue at all. Meanwhile, interest groups from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to the Business Roundtable, from K Street’s shrewdest lobbyists to the most hard-nosed union bosses, intervened to try to shape the direction of the order.

Continue reading "How Obama devised his Executive Order" »

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Impact of the Executive Order on workers' compensation

The Obama administration’s Executive Order today (Nov 20, 2014) will affect many aspects of work life. This is a slightly revised version of an article of mine published on November 18, in anticipation of the Order, in WorkCompCentral.

I analyzed the impact of workers’ compensation. The Order will force the workers’ compensation field to address issues that have been lying in plain sight for some time. After all, one-fifth of work injuries are likely sustained by a foreign-born workers, 10% by undocumented workers, whether or not they are reported.

Will the administration’s policy cause a jump in claims? Will it close down grey market labor abuses or open up a Pandora’s box? Will it make it easier to enforce work safety standards or sow confusion?

An initial analysis leads me to project that the impact on workers’ comp claims will likely be smaller than many may think but the impact on employer, insurer and regulator practices may be pervasive.

Here are six questions worth asking, with their tentative answers:

Q. Does the Administration plan to provide legal protection to all undocumented workers?

A. No, but the practical effect of protecting an estimated somewhat less than 3 million out of eight million workers may well complicate the entire workers’ compensation system. Regulators, courts and employers will now have three legal classes of workers (existing legal, newly protected and undocumented). That could create a legal nightmare. It might also induce many decision makers to reset their approaches to immigrant workers as a whole.

Q. Who are the workers the plan appears to target?

A. According to media reports, it focuses on undocumented persons who have been here for a long time and have children who, mostly by being born in the United States, are citizens.

The plan addresses a fundamental demographic shift during the past 15-20 years in undocumented households. The average tenure of these households in the United States has increased. Over 60% of undocumented adults have been in the country for at least 10 years, and one-fifth have been in the U.S. for two decades or more.

These households have always produced relatively more children than native-born households by virtue of adults being more concentrated in childbearing age ranges. Their children include some “DREAM Act” beneficiaries, minors born outside the country. But the great majority of their children – over four million of them – are born here, and are therefore citizens.

Public data suggests that perhaps a third of undocumented workers have children who are American citizens. Some 87% of these workers come from Latin America; the rest from Asia and elsewhere.

Q. Where do these parents work?

A. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented workers form the highest share of workforces in Nevada (10%), California (9.7%), Texas (9%) and New Jersey (8.6%). California has the largest number of people in the labor force who are unauthorized immigrants (1.85 million), followed by Texas (1.1 million), Florida (600,000) and New York (450,000.).

Q. What industries are most affected?

A. I have analyzed federal data to locate not only which industries employ undocumented workers, but those jobs that result in a high number of lost-time compensable injuries.

Among the largest 100 jobs, undocumented workers account for about 4.5% of all workers. Because they tend to hold more injury-prone jobs, they likely incur about 8% of lost-time compensable injuries – or would if they filed claims at the same rate as authorized workers do.

For example, about 12% of janitors and building cleaners are undocumented, but virtually no elementary and middle school teachers. Janitors are over four times more likely to be injured than teachers.

Major sectors with undocumented worker employment are farming, construction, hospitality, and institutional (building and grounds maintenance). About four out of every 10 farm workers are undocumented, hence the expectation, of which we will hear more, that providing work rights to these workers will cause food prices (especially fresh produce) to increase. However, farming’s size is dwarfed by the combined size of these other sectors, in which an average 12% of workers are illegal.

Take construction. A fifth to one quarter of lost-time compensable injuries sustained by all undocumented workers are sustained in construction. The typical image of the illegal construction worker is the low skilled laborer. About a fifth of them are estimated to be unauthorized. But a fair number of painters and other skilled workers are also illegal.

Take hospitality, which includes lodging and restaurants. About 20%-25% of room cleaners and cooks are undocumented workers.

For every 10 lost-time compensable injuries sustained by undocumented workers, about five of them take occur in either construction or hospitality. Maybe only one takes place in farming.

Q. Will workers’ compensation claims increase?

A. This may happen in earnest in selected situations, where undocumented workers have reported relatively few of their injuries and now feel empowered to file claims, with claimant bar and activist group encouragement. For the workers' compensation field as a whole, the impact could be modest. Even if the number of lost-time compensable claims of undocumented workers increased by 50%, the total increase of such claims in the workers' comp field would be, I expect, a couple of percentage points, spread over several years.

Q. How will the new policy impact employers?

A. Undoubtedly, employers, insurers and regulators will take greater care in addressing the direct and indirect ramifications of a legally more empowered workforce.

For example, undocumented workforces are entangled in the underground economy and in independent contractor abuses. As these workers gain more legal protection, and law enforcement agencies, in alliance with workers’ compensation regulators, may begin to attack these challenges with greater vigor.

In the key industries (farming, construction, hospitality and institutional services), employer associations which have fretted over what they see as unfair competition by law-skirting companies that exploit undocumented workers, may prod law enforcement agencies more aggressively. In some industries, such as hospitality and transportation, labor organizing may blossom, with worker health and safety a key campaigning topic.

And, wages will likely trend upward as workers seek jobs in other industries now open to them (such as health care and government), putting pressure on employers. Expect to see greater investment by employers in labor-saving, injury-avoiding technology.

Posted by pfr at 2:28 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post

Impact of the Executive Order on workers' compensation

The Obama administration’s Executive Order today Nov 21, 2014) will affect many aspects of work life. This is a slightly revised version of an article of mine published on November 18, in anticipation of the Order, in WorkCompCentral.

I analyzed the impact of workers’ compensation. The Order will force the workers’ compensation field to address issues that have been lying in plain sight for some time. After all, one-fifth of work injuries are likely sustained by a foreign-born workers, 10% by undocumented workers, whether or not they are reported.

Will the administration’s policy cause a jump in claims? Will it close down grey market labor abuses or open up a Pandora’s box? Will it make it easier to enforce work safety standards or sow confusion?

An initial analysis leads me to project that the impact on workers’ comp claims will likely be smaller than many may think but the impact on employer, insurer and regulator practices may be pervasive.

Here are six questions worth asking, with their tentative answers:

Q. Does the Administration plan to provide legal protection to all undocumented workers?

A. No, but the practical effect of protecting an estimated somewhat less than 3 million out of eight million workers may well complicate the entire workers’ compensation system. Regulators, courts and employers will now have three legal classes of workers (existing legal, newly protected and undocumented). That could create a legal nightmare. It might also induce many decision makers to reset their approaches to immigrant workers as a whole.

Q. Who are the workers the plan appears to target?

A. According to media reports, it focuses on undocumented persons who have been here for a long time and have children who, mostly by being born in the United States, are citizens.

The plan addresses a fundamental demographic shift during the past 15-20 years in undocumented households. The average tenure of these households in the United States has increased. Over 60% of undocumented adults have been in the country for at least 10 years, and one-fifth have been in the U.S. for two decades or more.

These households have always produced relatively more children than native-born households by virtue of adults being more concentrated in childbearing age ranges. Their children include some “DREAM Act” beneficiaries, minors born outside the country. But the great majority of their children – over four million of them – are born here, and are therefore citizens.

Public data suggests that perhaps a third of undocumented workers have children who are American citizens. Some 87% of these workers come from Latin America; the rest from Asia and elsewhere.

Q. Where do these parents work?

A. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented workers form the highest share of workforces in Nevada (10%), California (9.7%), Texas (9%) and New Jersey (8.6%). California has the largest number of people in the labor force who are unauthorized immigrants (1.85 million), followed by Texas (1.1 million), Florida (600,000) and New York (450,000.).

Q. What industries are most affected?

A. I have analyzed federal data to locate not only which industries employ undocumented workers, but those jobs that result in a high number of lost-time compensable injuries.

Among the largest 100 jobs, undocumented workers account for about 4.5% of all workers. Because they tend to hold more injury-prone jobs, they likely incur about 8% of lost-time compensable injuries – or would if they filed claims at the same rate as authorized workers do.

For example, about 12% of janitors and building cleaners are undocumented, but virtually no elementary and middle school teachers. Janitors are over four times more likely to be injured than teachers.

Major sectors with undocumented worker employment are farming, construction, hospitality, and institutional (building and grounds maintenance). About four out of every 10 farm workers are undocumented, hence the expectation, of which we will hear more, that providing work rights to these workers will cause food prices (especially fresh produce) to increase. However, farming’s size is dwarfed by the combined size of these other sectors, in which an average 12% of workers are illegal.

Take construction. A fifth to one quarter of lost-time compensable injuries sustained by all undocumented workers are sustained in construction. The typical image of the illegal construction worker is the low skilled laborer. About a fifth of them are estimated to be unauthorized. But a fair number of painters and other skilled workers are also illegal.

Take hospitality, which includes lodging and restaurants. About 20%-25% of room cleaners and cooks are undocumented workers.

For every 10 lost-time compensable injuries sustained by undocumented workers, about five of them take occur in either construction or hospitality. Maybe only one takes place in farming.

Q. Will workers’ compensation claims increase?

A. This may happen in earnest in selected situations, where undocumented workers have reported relatively few of their injuries and now feel empowered to file claims, with claimant bar and activist group encouragement. For the workers' compensation field as a whole, the impact could be modest. Even if the number of lost-time compensable claims of undocumented workers increased by 50%, the total increase of such claims in the workers' comp field would be, I expect, a couple of percentage points, spread over several years.

Q. How will the new policy impact employers?

A. Undoubtedly, employers, insurers and regulators will take greater care in addressing the direct and indirect ramifications of a legally more empowered workforce.

For example, undocumented workforces are entangled in the underground economy and in independent contractor abuses. As these workers gain more legal protection, and law enforcement agencies, in alliance with workers’ compensation regulators, may begin to attack these challenges with greater vigor.

In the key industries (farming, construction, hospitality and institutional services), employer associations which have fretted over what they see as unfair competition by law-skirting companies that exploit undocumented workers, may prod law enforcement agencies more aggressively. In some industries, such as hospitality and transportation, labor organizing may blossom, with worker health and safety a key campaigning topic.

And, wages will likely trend upward as workers seek jobs in other industries now open to them (such as health care and government), putting pressure on employers. Expect to see greater investment by employers in labor-saving, injury-avoiding technology.

Posted by pfr at 2:28 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post

November 17, 2014

Reagan and Bush Sr. used executive orders for immigrants

The Associated Press reports on Presidents Reagan’s and George W.H. Bush’s use of executive orders to greatly increase legal protections of unauthorized residents.

In 1986, Congress and Reagan enacted a sweeping overhaul that gave legal status to up to 3 million immigrants without authorization to be in the country, if they had come to the U.S. before 1982. Spouses and children who could not meet that test did not qualify, which incited protests that the new law was breaking up families.

Early efforts in Congress to amend the law to cover family members failed. In 1987, Reagan's Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner announced that minor children of parents granted amnesty by the law would get protection from deportation.

Spouses and children of couples in which one parent qualified for amnesty but the other did not remained subject to deportation, leading to efforts to amend the 1986 law.

In a parallel to today, the Senate acted in 1989 to broaden legal status to families but the House never took up the bill. Through the INS, Bush advanced a new "family fairness" policy that put in place the Senate measure. Congress passed the policy into law by the end of the year as part of broader immigration legislation.

"It's a striking parallel," said Mark Noferi of the pro-immigration American Immigration Council. "Bush Sr. went big at the time. He protected about 40 percent of the unauthorized population. Back then that was up to 1.5 million. Today that would be about 5 million."

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November 14, 2014

Chronology of recent news about Executive Orders to come

Two days ago, Fox News predicted that the Obama Administration will soon issue a 10 point plan for immigrants by executive order. The plan will include deferred deportation for young persons and protection plus work permits for undocumented adults who are parents or citizens or legal permanent residents.

Yesterday the NY Times predicted that President Obama will issue executive orders in a very few days to protect millions of undocumented parents of children:

President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.

NY Times today profiles big foundations as having funded the livelihood of immigrant advocacy groups:

Over the last decade those donors [Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, and others] have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The philanthropies helped the groups rebound after setbacks and financed the infrastructure of a network in constant motion, with marches, rallies, vigils, fasts, bus tours and voter drives. The donors maintained their support as the immigration issue became intensely partisan on Capitol Hill and the activists grew more militant, engaging in civil disobedience and brash confrontations with lawmakers and enforcement authorities.

Also today, the Washington Post profiles GOP positioning for a stand-off:

Congressional Republicans said Friday they are considering a series of showdowns over funding the government if President Obama goes ahead with his expected plans to unilaterally overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

When Congress reconvenes in the new year, Republicans would then pass other short-term bills, each designed to create a forum to push back against the president and, possibly, to gain concessions. Republicans are also planning to file a lawsuit against the president over his use of executive authority, according to the lawmakers and aides.

The efforts are seen as ways to pressure the president to relent and pull back his expected executive orders to change immigration policy, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported. They are also designed to placate conservatives, who have urged an aggressive response against what they see as an unconstitutional overreach by the president.

By floating the ideas, senior Republicans said they hoped the president understood that if he moves forward he would face a climate of fiscal standoffs over immigration in the new year

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June 26, 2014

Food manufacturing workers in NYC


Feeding New York” is a report issued on June 24 by Brandworkers, a membership organization of workers in the local food production industry in New York City. The report focuses on the New York City food manufacturing industry. Researchers surveyed and interviewed workers and drew upon other government survey data.

With some $5 billion in gross annual sales, New York City’s food manufacturing industry employs 14,000 workers. With 900 employers, the average workforce is 16. According to a 2007 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute, 70% of workers in the sector are immigrants, 72% are people of color, and 64% have less than a high school diploma.

Latinos make up 32%; Asians 20%, African Americans 17% and whites 27% of all food manufacturing workers.13 Among frontline workers, Latinos account for 53% of workers, Asians 16%, African Americans 16% and whites 12%.14 Women comprise 38% of the industry’s workers and are a growing segment of the industry.15 According to Census data, frontline workers make on average $12.06 per hour and work an average of 37.4 hours per week.

What the study’s survey found:

Work Safety lapses: 42% have suffered an injury at work. This includes: 15.1% have slipped/fallen; 14.2% have been cut; 11.3% have headaches; 10.4% have a back injury; 7.5% have been hit by equipment; 43.5% reported injury but did not get free
medical care from employer; 9.7% have come into contact with toxic chemicals; 4.9% aren’t sure; More than 1 in 10 report that their employer required them to do something that put their safety at risk

Little training: 44.1% did not receive any [job] training; 72.1% did not receive any training from employer; 56.7% never received training on workplace health and safety.

Limited health insurance: 52.9% don’t have health insurance; 4.7% get their health insurance through their employer; 54.9% have gone to work sick in the past year;
30.7% don’t get any paid sick days; 25.7% aren’t sure if they do or not.

Wages: Survey respondents on average earned $10.48 an hour. On average, undocumented workers made $2 less per hour than workers with legal status.

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June 21, 2014

Undocumented workers ensnared by workers comp

Law enforcement agencies are booby-trapping workers’ comp benefits for undocumented workers. Below is my column with reference to a news article. Both were published on June 16 by WorkCompCentral.

Ensnared by workers’ comp

We may look back to this time as a period when one out of every ten injured worker faced the risk of criminal prosecution and deportation for the act of submitting a legitimate workers’ compensation claim.

Michael Whiteley of WorkCompCentral [see at end for access] reports that law enforcement agencies in at least two states recently adopted strategies to arrest undocumented workers on the grounds that in using an invalid social security number in their claims submission they defrauded the insurer.

First report of injury forms include a field for a social security number. The number links the claimant to personnel and payroll data on the employer’s books. Normal payroll deductions are taken for the number to hold for future social security and Medicare benefits, to which the claimant may never be able to enjoy. By definition, the social security number on an undocumented worker’s claims record is invalid.

The eight million undocumented workers comprise about 6% of the total civilian workforce. By studying estimates of undocumented worker penetration by occupations ranked by injury risk, one can reasonably project that undocumented workers sustain one out of every ten work injuries. This high volume is invisible to almost everyone except for adjusters, case managers, lawyers and others who work directly with injured workers and have learned their work and life patterns. The rate varies greatly, from maybe 2% in West Virginia, a low foreign-born population state, to over half within the fruit and vegetable producing counties of southern California.

At my request, the Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group asked if its members were aware of intimidation, claim denials or arrests that arose from the use of other persons’ social security numbers. Within a few hours my email inbox lit up like a Christmas tree.

A Florida attorney with whom I had spoken earlier sent adjuster notes obtained through discovery for a June, 2012 injury at a dairy. The adjuster wrote on June 27, 2012, “claimant, three children, obtained SSN from his brother when his brother returned to Mexico. Married, 9th grade educ in Mexico.” In March, 2013, the adjuster wrote: “SIU check found that SSN was issued in Porto Rico some time between 1936 and 1950.”

In March, 2013, the adjuster wrote that the case had been referred to a West Palm Beach, Florida, investigator. On April 4 the notes state that the claimant was arrested for using a false number to gain employment and false filing of workers compensation claim. The legal basis for the arrest was not given but was most likely insurance fraud statute, 440.105 (4)(b), currently being challenged in superior courts (Florida v Brock].

This worker’s guileless comments about the passed down number shows how accustomed undocumented workers, their employers and workers’ compensation claims payers are to tacitly accommodating illegal work status while in processing workers’ compensation benefits. In all but a few jurisdictions, undocumented workers can legally obtain benefits, a right assured by state law and state superior courts.

What’s changed, it appears, is the climate. Perhaps tacitly going along is viewed by some as a form of amnesty. Maybe workers’ compensation fraud teams are hungrier for results and see identity theft as easier to document than traditional fraud such as faking disability.

Step back to consider the implications on the industry’s commitment, as phrased by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, to “help foster a healthy workers compensation system.”

Some applicant attorneys allege that defense lawyers sometime ensnare their undocumented clients by teasing out during depositions information they then package over to law enforcement. Sometimes, they tell me, there is a threat. “Retaliation and threats of retaliation have created a culture of fear,” The National Employment Law Project asserts, citing its recent survey that illegal immigrant workers are hesitant to file workers’ compensation claims or assert other rights out of fear of retaliation.

Workers’ compensation benefits and work safety join in a circular flow of cause and correction. Len Welch, Chief of Workplace Safety for California’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, the State Compensation Insurance Fund, says that immigration reform could be the most important work safety advance in the next five to 10 years. “When you have undocumented workers, the odds of accidents go way up. It’s the tip of the iceberg of the massive underground economy in the state,” he said.

James Baldwin, debating William Buckley at Cambridge University in 1965, described the legacy of slavery as the tragedy of “when one has absolute power over another person.” To the undocumented worker, her or his employer holds nearly absolute power over safety. A work injury could result in jail time and deportation. Neither workers’ compensation system and worksite safety are healthy when one tenth of injured workers can are in a constant state of vulnerability.

Mike Whiteley’s article is behind a paywall. If you are not a subscriber, you can purchase access to the article. https://ww3.workcompcentral.com/news/story/id/071f36056523bac7ae4e8e310a166913m

Posted by pfr at 9:45 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post

May 5, 2014

California’s undocumented immigrants use fewer health services

From the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research: undocumented immigrants in California see the doctor and visit emergency rooms significantly less often than U.S. citizens and documented immigrants.

One in five U.S.-born adults visits the ER annually, compared with roughly one in 10 undocumented adults — approximately half the rate of U.S.-born residents.

"The great majority of undocumented in California are working-age adults who contribute greatly to California's economy by working in physically demanding service, agriculture and construction jobs," project director Nadereh Pourat said. "It makes financial sense to make sure they have affordable health coverage options so they can stay healthy."

"The undocumented who end up in the emergency room have often delayed getting any care until they are critically sick."

The study also found that undocumented immigrants' average number of doctor visits per year was lower: 2.3 for children and 1.3 for adults, compared with 2.8 doctor visits for U.S.-born children and 3.2 for adults.

Nine percent of uninsured undocumented immigrants had visited the ER, significantly lower than the 12 percent of uninsured U.S.-born residents, who had the highest ER use of all groups.

In 2009, California was home to more than 2.2 million undocumented immigrants, the study found. And while these immigrants make up 6.8 percent of California's residents, they represent nearly a quarter of the state's uninsured population.

The undocumented don't get preventive care, potentially leading to more advanced disease and higher public expenditures.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act extended access to health coverage to about 3.3 million people in the state but not to California's more than 2.2 million undocumented immigrants, the study notes.

Posted by pfr at 5:41 PM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post

March 22, 2014

Health coverage and health literary among adult Hispanics

The news is not good about health insurance coverage and health literacy among adult Hispanics. I have excerpted below from survey results and an overview article in Health Affairs. These findings cast a shadow over the Affordable Care Act and workers’ compensation (in which about a substantial share of injured workers have non-occupational health conditions that need attention to achieve a resolution of the injury).

Low enrollments in health insurance

Thirty-six percent of Hispanic adults reported being uninsured in late 2013, confirming that they are much more likely to lack coverage than other racial or ethnic groups. This rate is triple the rate of uninsurance among whites (12%) and a third higher than blacks and non-white Hispanics (27%) (these figures from the Urban Institute’s report noted below).

Despite the ACA’s coverage expansions, over half of the uninsured Hispanic population (55 percent) reported that they expect to remain uninsured in 2014. (These expectations are not likely due to the immigration status of Hispanics and its effect on eligibility, because uninsured white non-Hispanic and non-white non-Hispanic adults have similar expectations about coverage.)

Health illiteracy

Overall, the gap in understanding health insurance concepts between nonwhite and Hispanic adults and those who are non-Hispanic white is almost 20 percentage points, with just 27.8 percent of nonwhite or Hispanic respondents saying they feel confident that they understand all nine terms. For each of the nine terms asked about, no more than 60.2 percent of nonwhite or Hispanic adults were either very or somewhat confident in their understanding of it.

Sources:

Health Affairs, Why Are Hispanics Slow To Enroll In ACA Coverage? March 18 2014 (subscription required.

The Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey January 21, 2014, What Health Insurance Coverage Changes Are the Uninsured Anticipating for 2014?
http://hrms.urban.org/briefs/anticipated-changes-for-2014.html

The Urban Institute, Public Understanding of Basic Health Insurance Concepts on the Eve of Health Reform (late 2013)
http://hrms.urban.org/briefs/hrms_literacy.html

Posted by pfr at 10:36 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post

February 18, 2014

Home Economics: the lives of domestic workers

The National Domestic Workers Alliance issued a report titled Home Economics which reveals much about the working conditions of domestic workers. A large share of domestic workers are immigrants.

Key findings in the report:

Domestic workers earn substandard pay, and enjoy little economic mobility or financial security.

Formal employment contracts are rare in the domestic work industry, and where work agreements do exist, employers frequently violate them.

Employers think of their homes as safe, yet domestic work can be hazardous.

Domestic workers who encounter problems frequently feel too vulnerable to stand up for themselves, especially live-in workers and undocumented immigrants.

The survey revealed that substandard working conditions are pervasive in the domestic work industry. Wage rates are low, the work is often hazardous, and workers rarely have effective recourse to improve substandard conditions.

A few of the facts in the report:

About a third of domestic workers nationwide are foreign born. About two thirds of domestic workers in major metropolitan areas are foreign born.
23 percent of workers surveyed are paid below the state minimum wage.
The median hourly wage of live-in workers is $6.15.
Less than 9 percent work for employers who pay into Social Security.
60 percent spend more than half of their income on rent or mortgage payments.
85 percent of undocumented immigrants who encountered problems with their working conditions in the prior 12 months did not complain because they feared their immigration status would be used against them.

Posted by pfr at 9:35 PM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post
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