Ellen Kaye Scott
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Scott's research focuses on low-wage work and carework, with attention to public policy related to low-income workers and families. Scott has done work on women leaving welfare for work, low-wage work in Oregon, the tensions between wage work and carework in families of children with disabilities, and unpredictable scheduling practices in retail, hospitality, and fast food industries. Scott is a qualitative researcher who collaborates with survey researchers to produce mixed methods products. Her research has been influential in policy debates in Oregon regarding the child care subsidy program, raising minimum wage, and fair scheduling legislation.
Describes the long, irregular, badly paid and too often unpaid hours home-based childcare providers work to care for the children of Oregon’s working class families.
Expands research on how workers navigate through "bad jobs" by exploring the ways in which they respond in an attempt to manage the individual impacts of precarious work arrangements. Finds that workers respond to unpredictable scheduling in four ways: they acquiesce, self-advocate, quit, or directly oppose employers. Highlights the "impossible choices" workers face as they negotiate prevalent, unpredictable work conditions, juggle work-life obligations, and struggle to remain employed.
Finds that both employment constraints and subsidy receipt are strong predictors of child care selection decisions.
Examines those unusual circumstances in which work does work in the challenging case of mothers of children with disabilities. Finds that with flexibility, paid leave, job security, and health insurance, that is, with jobs that policy analysts refer to as "good jobs," and Randy Albelda calls "mother-ready" jobs, caregivers can manage work and family. Argues that through a combination of mandatory workplace restructuring and social supports, the state could facilitate the reorganization of jobs so that they are mother-ready and therefore make possible the performance of daily required tasks as caregivers and employees.
Examines employment instability and job characteristics of parents using child care subsidies. Suggests that parents experience substantial employment instability (employment loss and unpredictable schedules) and that exiting the subsidy program is frequently related to employment-related eligibility factors.
Shows how much taxpayers spend supporting the low wage workforce in the state of Oregon. Looks at the cost of public assistance to workers and their families and provides guidance to decision makers as they determine the right way to fill gaps in services.