© Copyright ClearPath Benefits

Recommendations for Employers

To enhance the working conditions reported by lower-wage workers in the study, the researchers offered recommendations aimed at employers, policymakers and stakeholders. The full list can be found starting on page 5 of the report, but here are the recommendations for employers:

Breaks and meals

  • Allow sufficient time for breaks and meals; provide the state-mandated 30 minutes consecutively, as a single break.
  • Support daily communication of rest and meal break times to employees, to reduce anxiety about hunger and to facilitate healthy meal planning.
  • Provide a clean space for eating, with sufficient functional equipment (refrigerator and microwave) for the number of employees on site.

Workload and scheduling

  • Determine physical workloads that are moderate enough to avoid excessive fatigue and risk of injury.
  • Institute health and safety programs that identify and reduce or eliminate ergonomic hazards.
  • Involve workers in scheduling decisions for shift work and overtime to promote family balance and mental health.

Support for employees

  • Encourage supportive supervisory and management styles.
  • Promote programs that identify and eliminate bullying and sexual harassment.
  • Select group health coverage and third-party service contractors that address working conditions and are sensitive to the needs of low-wage workers.
  • Establish worker-management committees that incorporate health, safety and wellness.

“Programs to address obesity in lower-wage workers must include the work environment as a fundamental starting point,” researchers concluded. They suggested employers:

  • Analyze work organization, work scheduling, physical demands and psychosocial stressors.
  • Adopt policies for mealtime and rest breaks.
  • Create clean, adequately equipped eating facilities.
  • Offer strong health and safety protections.