The Precarity Penalty: How Insecure Employment Disadvantages Workers and Their Families
This paper examines the social and economic effects of
precarious employment in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area. The
analysis is based on data from two surveys conducted in 2011 and in 2014
by the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO)
research group. The survey findings paint a picture of how low earnings
and economic uncertainty translate into delayed formation of
relationships, lower marriage rates for workers under the age of 35, and
fewer households with children. They also suggest that workers in
precarious employment are more likely to experience social isolation.
These findings suggest that the Precarity Penalty is not limited to
economic outcomes from employment but also includes disadvantages in
establishing healthy households and being engaged in one's community.
Workers in secure employment enjoy better economic outcomes from
employment that provide the basis for better household wellbeing and
increased social integration. While much has been made in recent years of
the unequal distribution of income, the PEPSO study also points to the
unequal distribution of many of the non-financial aspects of life that
people value including companionship, having a family and having friends.
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