The Nature of Work and the Social Safety Net
This brief by the Urban Institute looks at how economic trends and the labor market have changed since the 1970s, when both the labor market and social safety supports were stronger. Because of such changes like fewer work benefits, stagnant wages, and declining labor force participation rates, social safety programs face increasing burdens. Furthermore, the trend toward more outsourced, nonstandard, temporary, and automated work creates further pressures on social safety nets to provide benefits traditionally obtained through stable employment. Some potential solutions include portable benefits for contractors or part-time workers, laws that require minimum benefit levels, state-operated social insurance programs, prorated unemployment benefits, and programs to make the work requirements of safety net programs easier to fulfill.
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