Category Archives: Compensation

Comparing the Compensation of Federal and Private-Sector Employees, 2011 to 2015

Source: Congressional Budget Office, Report no. 52637, April 25, 2017

From the summary:
During the 2011-2015 period, the difference between the wages, benefits, and total compensation of federal civilian employees and those of similar private-sector employees varied widely depending on the employees’ educational attainment.

Violation Tracker – April 2017 update

Source: Good Jobs First, April 18, 2017

From the press release:
Good Jobs First today announced a large new addition to Violation Tracker, the country’s first public database of corporate crime and misconduct: more than 34,000 cases brought by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor since the beginning of 2010 for violations of overtime, minimum wage and other provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The largest violators captured by the new data are oilfield services company Halliburton, which in 2015 agreed to an $18 million settlement of alleged overtime violations, and CoreCivic (the new name of private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America), which in 2014 agreed to an $8 million settlement….

Can universal basic income counter the ill-effects of the gig economy?

Source: Vili Lehdonvirta, The Conversation, April 12, 2017
Platforms like eBay, Uber, Airbnb, and Freelancer are thriving, growing the digital economy and disrupting existing business. The question is how to ensure that the transformations they entail have a positive impact on society. Here, universal basic income may have a role to play.

Few social policy ideas are as hot today as universal basic income. Social scientists, technologists, and politicians from both ends of the political spectrum see it as a potential solution to the unemployment that automation and artificial intelligence are expected to create.

It has also been floated as a potential solution to the rise of the gig economy, where work is centred around on-demand tasks and short-term projects as opposed to regular full-time employment. This is the kind of employment that platforms like Uber and Freelancer are based on…..

Federal Tax Returns: Latest Rankings by County, State and More

Source: Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Report date: April 11, 2017

For many years, the county with the highest adjusted gross income per federal tax return payer was found in glossy locations such as Teton County, Wyoming, Fairfield County, Connecticut and New York Country, N.Y. But for the latest available tax year – returns filed during 2015 — the top ranking county in the nation according to this count has moved south, to McMullen County, Texas, where its best known feature is Boot Hill Cemetery in Tilden.

Though ranked among smallest of the nation’s 3,000 plus counties in terms of total population, when examined by another factor — the average adjusted gross income of the taxpayers in this very sparsely populated county easily tops the better known spots mentioned above as well as Falls Church City, Virginia, Marin County (Point Reyes Station), California and Pitkin County (Aspen, Colorado).

(Boot Hill Cemetery, established about 1858, gained its name because many of the interred reportedly were buried with “their boots on.”)

TRAC has updated its interactive Taxpayer Returns application with the latest data available from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This unique tool makes it easy to browse through TRAC’s extensive store of information on the constantly shifting types of income going back to 1991 that flow to taxpayers in the fifty states and every one of the more than 3,000 counties.

Average wages and salaries continue to grow more slowly that total income from all sources. While average reported wages and salaries grew by 3.5 percent on returns filed in 2015 as compared with those filed the previous year, the average adjusted grow income (AGI) grew by 6.3 percent. Overtime, the proportion of reported income from wages and salaries has slipped. For returns filed during 2015 wages and salaries made up only 69 percent of reported AGI. For 2014 it was 71 percent. Ten years ago it was 73 percent, while twenty years ago wages and salaries made up 77 percent.

Fewer than two exemptions (1.95) are now being claimed on average on a return – down from over two (2.16) a decade ago. ….

New database details White House officials’ finances

Source: Center for Public Integrity, April 4, 2017

On Friday night, the White House began releasing financial disclosures for scores of key employees — including familiar names such as Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

Reporters from dozens of news organizations, including the Associated Press, the New York Times, ProPublica and the Washington Post, then compiled and reported on the documents, which the White House released one-by-one.

The Center for Public Integrity compiled data from those disclosures into a searchable, sortable database, which provide a window into the wealth, assets and business interests of many of the people closest to President Donald Trump. The Center for Public Integrity’s news developer, Chris Zubak-Skees, extracted these details from more than 90 reports, released in PDF format, using a software tool he created….

The Impact of “Right-to-Work” Laws on Labor Market Outcomes in Three Midwest States: Evidence from Indiana, Michigan,and Wisconsin (2010–2016)

Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Illinois Economic Policy Institute, Project for Middle Class Renewal, April 3, 2017

From the summary:
A new study finds that the introduction of “right-to-work” laws has reduced the unionization rate by 2.1 percentage points and lowered worker wages by 2.6% in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Recent “right-to-work” laws have had negative consequences for many workers in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute.

The analysis focuses on labor markets in six Midwest states from 2010 through 2016. Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin all enacted “right-to-work” (RTW) laws during this period, providing a regional experiment on the effects of the laws. Three neighboring states– Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio– serve as a comparison group because they did not have RTW laws at the beginning of the time frame and still do not have RTW today.

As of 2016, there were significant differences between the two groups of states. Notably, workers in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin earned 8% less per hour on average than their counterparts in Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio…..

Monitoring for Worker Quality

Source: Gautam Bose, Kevin Lang, Journal of Labor Economics, Ahead of Print, March 24, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Much nonmanagerial work is routine, with all workers having similar output most of the time. However, failure to address occasional challenges can be very costly, and consequently easily detected, while challenges handled well pass unnoticed. We analyze job assignment and worker monitoring for such “guardian” jobs. If monitoring costs are positive but small, monitoring is nonmonotonic in the firm’s belief about the probability that a worker is good. The model explains several empirical regularities regarding nonmanagerial internal labor markets: low use of performance pay, seniority pay, rare demotions, wage ceilings within grade, and wage jumps at promotion.

The Labor Market Returns to Sub-Baccalaureate College: A Review

Source: Clive Belfield & Thomas Bailey, Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), March 2017

From the summary:
This paper and accompanying brief review recent evidence on the labor market returns to credit accumulation, certificates, and associate degrees from community colleges. Evidence is collated from estimates of earnings gaps across college students using large-scale, statewide administrative datasets from eight states. Six of these states were partners of the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), a research center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. CAPSEE researchers conducted extensive analyses of education and earnings in these states.

Findings from these studies affirm a “CAPSEE consensus” with three main results and two key features. For associate degrees, this review affirms that completing an associate degree yields strongly positive, persistent, and consistent earnings gains: studies show that completing an associate degree yields on average approximately $4,640–$7,160 per annum in extra earnings compared to entering college but not completing an award. For certificates, the evidence shows positive but modest returns and that these returns may fade out within a few years post-college. For non-completers, there is evidence that earning more credits is associated with higher earnings. Generally, the results establish two main features. First, increments of college lead to higher earnings, but with returns that are heterogeneous by field of study. Second, the evidence is strongly suggestive that returns to college are robust to macroeconomic trends.

The related brief is based largely on the paper. It summarizes the findings on gains from completing an associate degree, a certificate, and from accumulating credits without earning an award. It also reviews important details concerning these gains and highlights implications for policy.
Download brief

How we built an app that uses worker location history to combat wage theft

Source: Abhinav Suri, freeCodeCamp blog, March 20, 2017

….Furthermore, this study estimates that workers across the country lose a collective of $50 billion per year due to wage theft.

Even though this study was conducted eight years ago, many workers today are still vulnerable to wage theft and therefore must sue to receive their fair monetary compensation. Moreover, the process of creating strong cases for victims of wage theft is difficult and time-consuming. This prospect is difficult because in many situations, clients have no work records, making it difficult for legal clinics seeking damages for that employer to win back the full owed sum.

Frequently, lawyers must rely on the clients to remember and then construct a schedule of their whereabouts for several months, which makes for a weaker case. That is where this story begins.

Over the past semester, my team and I at Hack4Impact had the opportunity to work with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), a pro-bono legal clinic which has served over one million low-income Philadelphians since its founding in 1966.

We were tasked with creating a website to analyze a client’s Google Location History and create a timesheet for all the times a client entered and exited a user-inputted workplace. Since most of CLS’s clients carried Android phones and had not disabled location history tracking, this solution would prove to be incredibly helpful as a starting point for reconstructing a client’s court-admissible time sheet for their case, saving CLS lawyers + paralegals hundreds of hours…..