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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Studies Awareness of Paid Sick Leave among NYC Restaurant Workers

Dr. Emma Tsui, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy along with a doctoral student and a colleague examined the issue of paid sick leave among restaurant workers. The work is published in the Journal of Urban Health.

[Photo: Dr. Emma Tsui]

Restaurant workers are less likely to have paid sick leave benefits than other professions, despite the fact that they handle food and interact with the public. The research team collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data on paid sick leave awareness among New York City’s restaurant workers and the factors that produced these levels of awareness. The survey was administered in Spanish, Chinese, and English.

The team found that 62 percent of surveyed workers were aware of New York City’s law. Workers in chain restaurants were more aware of the laws compared to those who worked in independent restaurants. Workers whose survey was done in Chinese were significantly less likely to be aware of the laws compared to workers whose survey was in English or Spanish. Chefs and dishwashers were more aware than those who worked in the “front of the house” (wait staff, busboys, bar staff and hosts).

The team concluded that successful outreach requires building broad awareness and ensuring trustworthy sources of information with multiple points of contact. In addition the research also highlighted the importance of immigrant populations in paid sick leave outreach.