Underemployment in Silicon Valley's hourly workforceRead the full report
Silicon Valley is among the most prosperous regions in the United States. Yet one-third of workers in San Jose earn less in a year than the average annual rent for a one-bedroom home and even more working families are caught in an ever-intensifying struggle to make ends meet.
In the past four years, a broad, emerging economic-justice movement has won pacesetting minimum-wage victories in five cities throughout the Valley: starting with the groundbreaking Raise the Wage San Jose ballot measure in 2012 and continuing with four neighboring cities voting to follow suit.
In order for those higher wages to help provide for our region’s working families, employers must also provide employees with an opportunity to work suf cient and consistent hours for a reliable, livable paycheck.
In this paper, we find underemployment widespread in San Jose:
The United States has long set standards for work hours to protect working people and provide a level playing field for businesses. Yet this federal framework of rules has not kept up with the growing trends of contingent, part-time, and last-minute work scheduling that are impacting working people and their families in today’s economy.
As the capital of Silicon Valley — a region at the bleeding edge of these emerging trends — San Jose has the opportunity to innovate in creating a community-centered framework that moves us closer to ensuring that every working person in the region has a chance to earn a family-sustaining income. That’s why now is the time for San Jose to continue the important work that began with raising the minimum wage by updating our workplace hours protections so that every working person earns a living wage with enough hours of work to care for themselves, their families, and our communities.