Unpredictable pay -- for gig workers and high-income workers alike -- is linked to health problems
By Levi Sumagaysay
There's a correlation between health problems and fluctuating incomes, according to research published by the American Psychological Association on Thursday.
There appears to be a link between health problems and fluctuating incomes, according to research published by the American Psychological Association on Thursday.
Gig workers, restaurant workers, salespeople and others with volatile pay reported negative health symptoms, including poor sleep quality, headaches, stomach issues and back pain, according to research published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which was based on three studies across different industries and levels of income in the United States.
"Not only was pay volatility related to worse health in lower-paid tipped jobs or among freelancers in the gig economy but for higher-paid professionals working in finance, sales and marketing where commissions and performance bonuses are common," said report author Gordon Sayre, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Emlyon Business School in France, in a news release.
Sayre said his research has implications for individual and societal health, policy and productivity, especially because of the large number of U.S. workers whose pay can be unpredictable. The numbers mentioned in the report: 4.8 million individuals (3% of the U.S. workforce) work in tipped occupations; about 57 million (36%) participate in the "gig economy"; and 9.5% work in sales jobs.
The first study involved 85 workers including waiters, maids, and delivery drivers -- all of whom relied on tips -- who for two weeks completed online daily surveys about their pay and health.
In the second study, 375 gig workers who used
See: 'Gig work' rule is in Biden administration's crosshairs
The final study surveyed 252 higher-paid workers in finance, marketing and sales who counted on bonuses or commissions as part of their income. They completed similar surveys, but monthly for three months.
Pay volatility was associated with physical symptoms among the participants in the first two studies. Sleep quality was affected among participants in all three studies.
"In short, volatility in pay is associated with greater psychological threat and worse health for employees," Sayre said in the report.
Sayre noted that the findings don't prove that volatile pay causes negative health symptoms, but that there is a correlation between the two.
The report suggested that more stable forms of compensation -- and not tips, piece-rate work and bonuses -- should make up a larger part of workers' total income. That could be achieved through the actions by companies, unions and legislators, he said in the news release.
Opinion: Ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers would benefit everyone
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 08, 2022 10:36 ET (15:36 GMT)
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