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A budget standard indicates how much a particular family living in a particular place at a particular time needs in order to achieve a particular standard of living. This article presents new estimates that build on the earlier budget standards produced by the Social Policy Research Centre in the 1990s. The new budgets incorporate increases in consumer prices and community standards and reflect changes in item availability, retail practices and shopping behaviour, as well as improved research methods, 20 years of use and experience, and new data. They are designed to achieve a minimum income for healthy living standard and apply to families with a breadwinner who is either in full-time work and receiving the minimum wage, or unemployed and receiving Newstart Allowance. The estimates suggest that although the minimum wage is adequate for single people, it is not adequate to meet the needs of many couple families with and without children, while Newstart Allowance does not provide an adequate safety net for the unemployed, whatever their family status.
Researchers have studied truck crashes extensively using methods appropriate for behavior, technology, and regulatory enforcement. Few safety studies associate crashes with economic pressure, a pervasive latent influence. This study uses data from the US Large Truck Crash Causation Study to predict truck crashes based on work pressure factors that have their origins in market pressures on motor carriers and truck drivers. Logistic regression shows that factors associated with the work process, including an index of work-pressure attributes, predict the likelihood that crash analysts consider the truck driver to be the person whose last action could have prevented the crash. While not proving causation, the data suggest that economic factors affecting drivers contribute significantly to truck crashes.
Singapore’s Progressive Wage Model, introduced in 2012 and mandatory in the cleaning industry since 2015, is a skills- and productivity-based approach to redesigning jobs and restructuring wages in the largely outsourced cleaning, security and landscaping sectors. Focusing on cleaning work in the food and beverage industry, this case study examines some early outcomes of this national drive to reduce wage inequality by improving the pay and conditions of commodified work in a sector subject to outsourcing-based cost competition. Based on interviews with cleaners, supervisors and managers, the findings suggest that in general, government and the trade union and employers’ association have worked together, to set wages and conditions transparently. Nevertheless, enforcement issues mean that cleaners remain vulnerable. They have limited information about their employment benefits and face various types of poor conditions, some sanctioned by and others in violation of labour laws. These vulnerabilities have structural roots, including rent imbalances and cheap sourcing, factors that commodify jobs. The implementation of the Progressive Wage Model may have helped de-commodify cleaning jobs for Singaporeans and permanent residents, but such outcomes are still dependent on non-systemic and unenforceable factors such as the kindness of individual supervisors. While a promising start has been made, Singapore’s initial efforts to improve incomes and conditions in low-wage work will nevertheless require stronger regulatory commitment.
Disenchantment with traditional income-based measures of well-being has led to the search for alternative measures. Two major alternative measures of well-being come from subjective well-being research and the objective capability approach. The capability approach has been largely discussed in the context of development studies and economics and is mainly used within quantitative frameworks, but it also raises many questions that are worthy of discussion from a sociological perspective as well. This study opts for a qualitative approach to transpose capability approach in order to assess the well-being of female homeworkers in the football industry of Pakistan. The aim of this empirical research is to focus on the capabilities of homeworkers in accessing economic, individual, social and psychological aspects of well-being.
Labour markets in Australia have long been segmented by gender and race. This study compares two highly gendered and racially segmented labour markets, home-based family day care workers and garment homeworkers. The comparative cases examine the broader trends of migration, production and consumption that reinforce gender and racial stereotypes, and discourses that underpin representations that women workers are ideally suited to such work. We theorise the gender and racialised inequalities of homework based on the literature on invisibilisation and social reproduction to explore the vulnerable position of migrant women and the consequences of having limited options, such as legal and social protections and any capacity to collectively organise. Our analysis examines the roles and responses of institutions and conceptualises the socio-political factors that affect the characterisation of homework as non-work or as self-employed entrepreneurial activities. By mapping the differing regulatory trajectories of these two groups of homeworkers in terms of regulation and representation, we find both similarities and differences. While garment homeworkers have achieved recognition through legislation and social mobilisation, their circumstances leave them less likely to access such rights. By contrast, the failure to recognise family day care homeworkers, has left them to market forces.