A new report from the University of California-Berkeley says temporary workers in that state are more likely to rely on federal assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid, and live in poverty.
The report (PDF) by the school’s Center for Labor Research and Education is based on data from two years ago. It also shows temporary employees working through a staffing agency make an average of 18 percent less an hour than employees in the same industries hired on a permanent basis. They are also less likely to get health benefits, though some staffing agencies offer their own in-house benefits packages.
The report’s author, research data analyst Miranda Dietz, said she estimated that data indicates the median hourly wage for a temp worker two years ago was $13.72, compared to $19.72 for other employees. Temporary employees in the manufacturing industry face the biggest single wage gap, making 29.5 percent less than regular employees.
“These lowered wages mean that contingent workers rely more on the state safety net,” Dietz said, adding that they are also more vulnerable to wage and hour violations, and injury and illness concerns.
A recent report by the American Staffing Association said staffing companies employed an average of 2.78 million temporary and contract employees nationwide during the first three months of 2012, a six percent increase over the same time period last year.