In Texas, we pride ourselves on working hard and being self-sufficient. However, we have not done enough to correct the fact that too many Texans are stuck in low quality jobs that make self-sufficiency all but impossible.
Specifically, 2.4 million Texas workers (26 percent of all private sector jobs) earn less than $11.62 an hour according to CPPP’s analysis of the 2013 American Community Survey. Another 4.1 million Texas workers (45 percent of private sector workers) do not have access to paid sick days, and 5.4 million Texas workers (57 percent of private sector workers age 18-64) do not have access to a retirement plan at work.
While wages are a key component of what defines a high quality job, non-monetary aspects –such as whether a job provides paid sick days, family and medical leave or access to retirement savings – impact an employee’s ability to provide for his or her family and invest in the future. That is why CPPP is working to establish a set of standards to define a high quality job, as well as to identify tools businesses can use to support the financial stability of their workers.
Learn More about Business Supported Financial Stability Programs
Last spring CPPP partnered with RAISE Texas, the United Way for Greater Austin and CFED to pilot an automatic savings program in an Austin childcare business. We found that this program shows significant promise as a simple and relatively inexpensive strategy to help low-wage workers build non-retirement savings. Over the evaluation period, one-third of the 66 employees enrolled in the savings program and saved an average of $38 every two weeks, the equivalent of nearly $1,000 per year.
More information about the pilot can be found in the pilot’s evaluation report, which we are releasing today in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin’s Child and Family Research Partnership, the pilot’s evaluator.
Next week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas will host a webinar that will highlight the automatic savings program as well as two other low-cost workplace tools to help employees build financial stability. You can register for the July 12 webinar and learn more here.
Next Steps to Increase Access to High Quality Jobs in Texas
With growing income inequality across our state, the time is now for policymakers to advance policies that provide greater access to high quality jobs in Texas. That is why CPPP is expanding its work to look closely at a broader set of job quality policies, including paid sick days and retirement savings access. Look for our upcoming report this fall that will establish a set of standards to define job quality in Texas and provide a set of policy recommendations at the state and local levels to improve job quality.