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New Surveys Show Restaurant Workers Must Work Sick or Lose Pay

February 21, 2010

A new set of surveys and a national report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United show that although the restaurant industry continues to prosper—even in the face of the economic crisis—most workers are still being denied the family-supporting policies that would make these jobs sustainable.

Using data collected from restaurant worker surveys in Chicago, Metro Detroit, New Orleans, Maine, and New York City, the national analysis shows that:

  • 90% of surveyed restaurant workers had no health insurance through their employer.
  • More than 89% reported having no paid sick days and 78% had no paid vacation time.
  • Nearly 67% worked while sick.

Combined with ongoing racial disparities in wages and job promotions, the failure to provide health insurance, paid sick days, and other time off means that many of the most economically vulnerable restaurant workers are struggling to meet the needs of their families. The reports also show that consumer health is being traded away in favor of increased profit.

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