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.