The Catalog's dozens of policy proposals are based upon an extensive review of contemporary literature on the Future of Work. It offers decision-makers concrete and specific responses to technological advancement for use by government, companies, educational institutions and unions. Each proposal includes a short description and examples where implemented.
The Catalog was developed by the NJ Office of Innovation for the NJ Future of Work Task Force.
Below you will find the full catalog of policies + practices.
To create a uniform method of digesting each policy idea or concept in the Policy Library, each proposal consists of the following information:
The following descriptions provide a definition and overview of the challenges and opportunities each catalog item seeks to address, and provide a means to sort the catalog. The tags are as follows:
Tools to ensure that states, cities, and businesses can compete for and in future high growth industries and foster innovation and adoption of new beneficial technologies. Policies address the need for cities to have the proper resources and infrastructure to enable businesses to compete and thrive across the region.
A list of available data tools and ideas to address existing data gaps that limit understanding of current conditions, trajectory, and where things should be headed. Items will often provide ideas to improve data collection through existing collection processes as well as new ideas and partnerships to expand such efforts.
Policies + Practices to address demographic inequity that may result from new technology's uneven labor impacts, differences in available training and education resources, or limitations in worker mobility that may limit access to new opportunities.
Policies + Practices to update existing education systems to meet the changing demands of the workforce. Items address the need for new financing models for ongoing education, development of lifelong learning programs and curriculum, better career guidance, as well as new methods for certifying worker skills. Items offer a means to address the workforce skills gap through the education system.
Policy + Practices to address possible diminishing wages, loss of benefits and social protections, and deteriorating work conditions. New technology has created opportunities for more flexible work arrangements and improved safety in many industries, but these advancements also come with their own set of challenges, particularly as they relate to the growing reclassification and misclassification of workers in the gig and platform economy.
Policies + Practices that promote innovation and adoption of new technology, but provide regulatory safeguards to ensure development is safe, inclusive, and non-discriminatory.
Policies + Practices focused on reducing unemployment and underemployment while also providing services to support and aid workers during their transition back into the workforce.
A series of labor market policies + practices to help address gaps in the supply and demand of skills in the workforce. Items focus on incentivizing and creating workforce transition and training programs that involve public-private partnerships.
To better equip the Task Force with a more broadly-informed perspective, the Task Force welcomes input on the following questions:
If you have responses to the above questions that you would like to provide to the Task Force, please email comments and/or recommendations to:
Governments and and higher education systems should develop and delivers services to ensure that all learners, including those with preexisting personal barriers, have pathways to credential attainment.
Governments should support returning veterans and their spouses transitioning to the civilian labor market by removing barriers to recognition of occupation-specific training completed as part of military service.
State policymakers should add new data fields to state Unemployment Insurance wage records, including occupational titles, work hours, credentials, and work sites. Most states currently do not include enough data in records to analyze training programs’ effectiveness, and some states do not link this employment data to educational data at all. A 2014 BLS survey found that states that collected enhanced wage records reported that the data were extremely helpful in estimating hourly earnings, understanding career progression from occupation to occupation, assessing the effectiveness of workforce training, and making occupational projections.
Governments should increase funding for apprenticeship and training programs that teach skills relevant to emerging industries. Further, policymakers should explore the potential to incorporate new instructional technologies, such as e-learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs) that democratize and enrich vocational and technical education, into these programs. These programs can contribute to a sustainable workforce as technology and automation change the sets of skills demanded by employers.
Employers should ensure that their workers are getting decent wages, employment benefits, predictable scheduling, and training and advancement because this will lead to a more productive workforce.
Employers should create broader ownership opportunities for their workers. This could include expanding executive stock and profit-sharing compensation systems to all workers; making stock compensation tax-free; deferring taxes on stock options; further limiting the deduction for executive compensation for companies that do not offer broad-based ownership options; and establishing a social insurance program to protect workers who own company stock from extreme losses. With an ownership stake, workers may be more supportive of automation. Worker ownership is associated with greater employment stability, as well as higher firm productivity, profitability, and longevity.
Unions should broaden their mandate in recognition of the ways that employers and labor markets influence workers' lives outside of the workplace. Unions should apply techniques such as collective action and collective bargaining to the problems that workers encounter as "taxpayers, renters, mortgage-holders, consumers, students, student-loan debtors, and citizens of an endangered biosphere." This will help unions to achieve better outcomes for workers that go beyond the simple employee-employer relationship.
Governments should create partnership with unions, worker centers, and other worker organizations to enforce labor standards and proactively address issues in the work environment. A partnership with a government agency can play a legitimizing role for a worker organization, encouraging workers to take the organization more seriously and encourage support for collective organizing.
Governments should collect information about credentials and their value through an assessment of credentialing options and their alignments with industry demands to ensure that programs are ready to evolve to meet future needs.
Governments should partner with big firms to provide workers with some ownership of company assets to supplement their wages. This might be achieved via taxation or with an "inclusive ownership fund" formed by taking a percentage of shares from large companies. Asset equity offers a means to ensure that workers share in the benefits of new technology, and that they stand to gain a larger share of the economic growth driven by higher productivity.
Governments could look to consumers to play a more active role in supporting and funding portable benefits. The government could create legislation that holds consumers responsible for funding benefits to self-employed workers. For example, passengers of self-employed car services could be required to pay a percentage fee on every journey to contribute to funding benefits for these workers.
Employers should provide new ways for workers to signal their skills and credentials across fields as jobs and industries change. Businesses can work with educational institutions as well as organizations like Credential Engine, Job Data Exchange, and T3 Network to rewire the current skill-signaling system toward transparency and integration, as well as build linkages across the data and tech infrastructure that underpins this new system. Cross-industry skills credentialing enables employees to communicate and demonstrate their skills and the applicability of those skills to future work.
Educational institutions should explore the use of occupational data and employer/industry expert feedback to develop competencies and learning outcomes for postsecondary education and training programs. Employers also can tailor their job ads to include academic competencies that employees need. Whether as part of a competency-based or traditional education program, curriculum alignment that starts with data analysis is necessary for colleges to keep student learning relevant to the competencies demanded by industry, as well as to establish stronger ties to employers.
Policymakers should use projections of education demand to inform workforce development planning. Proprietary analytical information and college administrative data can also be linked with state wage records in the process of retaining and attracting employers and industries to the state. Employer demand for talent has elevated the importance of workers with specific skills gained through postsecondary education and training.
Employers should more consistently recognize alternative forms of educational programs, such as micro-degrees, as valid training credentials. Alternative educational opportunities like micro-degrees in technology occupations can provide students with skills directly needed when joining the workforce with a smaller investment from students. Work-based learning programs can both lower the cost of additional education and help employers develop a pipeline of future employees.
States should collect more data from employers to improve outcomes tracking for those participating in the UI system. Additional data points may include hours worked, occupational codes and position titles.
Governments should ease restrictions and expand access to quality college educations in prisons. Steps could include expanding tuition assistance and scholarships, allowing the use of computers in prison education programs, and streamlining and updating clearance procedures for college professors to teach in these programs. Maintaining access to college education in prisons has shown to improve employment outcomes and prevent recidivism.
Colleges and universities should partner with industry to help prepare their students for entering the workforce. Companies and universities can, for example, jointly design certificate programs that incorporate internships or apprenticeships with potential employers. Through these programs, employers can not only compete for talent but also develop the pipeline of talent they need to build their workforce.
Governments should provide incentives for businesses to invest funds, expedite approvals, and promote new technologies so that communities can gain widespread access to broadband. For example, states can attract investment and entrepreneurs through small initiatives with municipally owned companies. Broadband creates more opportunities for remote work, distance learning, and telemedicine. Currently, New Jersey ranks first in the country in broadband access.
Governments should expand paid leave programs for self-employed, part-time, independent, and gig workers as part of a plan for universal access to paid family and medical leave. Benefits should be portable—not tied to any particular job, but rather linked to the worker who can take the benefit from job to job or project to project—to accommodate for the frequency of changes in employment and alternative work arrangements.
Schools, universities and private training providers should form public–private partnerships to invest in skills development and human capital. Such a "skills endowment" could be pre-financed through education-linked loans that would only have to be paid back when and if the recipient achieves a certain level of income through subsequent employment. In the future of work, public education funding efforts need to focus as much on current workers and job seekers as on children and young adults not yet in the workforce.
While much attention has focused on the use of technology to facilitate distance learning or personalized learning, educational institutions require a better understanding of how adults learn, particularly when interfacing with technology. Educational institutions should create a framework for putting lessons learned and best practices from past studies into practice practice. Such information is necessary to design training and skills programs that are effective in helping adults learn.
Governments should create lifelong learning programs and, along with labor unions, subsidize workers’ access to them. This can be done in the form of pilot "personal learning accounts" that give every worker a budget to spend on training modules. Lifelong learning programs allow workers to upgrade their skills throughout their working lives and remain competent through changing workforce demands.
Governments can create job registries that provide information to students, employees, and educational institutions about credentials and skills that are in demand. Such initiatives encourage employers to collaborate in forecasting their future workforce needs and create common definitions to signal those needs. That information in turn can help educational institutions develop or expand programs that lead to higher-quality jobs.
Governments should establish tax credits for employers who hire individuals with criminal records, based on a percentage of qualified wages. The credits should be phased in over time to encourage long-term and stable employment, and should accompany a push to provide apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and work-based learning arrangements for these individuals. Obtaining meaningful employment early after returning from prison is one of the key factors in reducing recidivism and promoting independence.
Few traditional unions serve the needs of atypical workers. Union leaders need to adapt their models to include the growing number of self-employed and non-standard workers. To do this, they could consider partnering with and potentially funding co-working spaces and other organizations that house and represent such workers.
Corrections and labor departments should partner to expand access to effective vocational and training programs for incarcerated people. Research into best practices for corrections-based training shows that longer and more extensive programs focused on in-demand skills, preferably determined with input from employers, and that include follow-up with individuals upon release, are most effective. Employability is a major component of successful reentry and prevents recidivism, but only a small percentage of incarcerated people are able to participate in vocational or other training programs while in prison.
Governments should allocate funding for rigorous professional development to prepare teachers from diverse backgrounds to integrate technology into their teaching.
Policymakers should provide additional funding for community colleges to provide high-quality, in-demand skills training. This funding should be based on 1) characteristics of the student body (with greater funding allocated to schools with greater shares of students from disadvantaged backgrounds); 2) the labor market conditions in the local community, such as the local employment rate; and 3) demonstrated improvements in student retention and completion.
When laying off workers, employers should give their employees a warning with enough time to ease the transition of employees looking for new work. Policymakers can mandate this via legislation like The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires businesses to notify workers and the government of at least 60 days in advance of a mass layoff event. Layoffs cannot always be avoided, but transition planning should include as many stakeholders as possible to mitigate negative impacts and to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Governments should explore new models of workforce development that provide workers with individualized skills forecasting, career coaching tools, and information about skills in demand. Funding should be targeted at mid-skill, mid-wage earning workers (those employees whose jobs will be most threatened by automation and technology).
Employers should develop industry and sector partnerships to create regional jobs and career pathways. Sector partnerships bring together local stakeholders—employers, colleges, education and training providers, labor representatives, and workforce development experts—to address challenges by developing education-to-employment talent pipelines and developing coursework and training that meet relevant skill needs. Workers benefit from instruction in in-demand skills, awareness of emerging job opportunities, and guidance on which degrees and certifications to pursue based on what local employers look for when hiring.
Educational institutions at the secondary and postsecondary level should add occupational and labor market data, employment projections, wages, and student skill, value, and interest assessment data to the student career counseling process to inform college major and career selection. Some institutions of higher education are also using predictive analytics to identify course-taking patterns, course completion rates, and other factors that might help determine the keys that lead to student progress and success. These data-driven tools can address gaps in the availability of quality guidance counseling and provide additional guidance to those who need it most, including low-income and first-generation college students.
Colleges and Universities should integrate lifelong learning programs into existing degrees structures. This would be done by creating potable credentials that follow a student throughout their later career while making training and professional developments key parts of faculty career paths and graduate training. This policy would better prepare students for a dynamic work environment which requires an ever-changing skill set.
Governments should expand learning and work opportunities for all workers by investing in broadband and entrepreneurship hubs. This would entail investing in a comprehensive approach to fostering innovation, using local institutions and infrastructure and accessing investment capital to help the entrepreneurial economy thrive in all communities, including rural areas.
Businesses should take measures to attract residents and businesses by investing in the development of walkable communities with live-work-play spaces. Mixed-use spaces attract economic activity and residents by placing residential developments, businesses, and recreation in close proximity.
Governments should invest in urban development initiatives that make possible the development of museums, restaurants, and arts-related business enterprises in new locations. Possible strategies include developing attractive living options, building educational partnerships, subsidizing living or office spaces for tenants in creative fields, and offering incentives for relocation that would attract and retain jobs and people from the urban core. Such investments in quality of life would help to position new cities and communities as hubs for job creation and economic development.
Employers and governments should commit resources to developing new online analytical tools for a more effective matching process among jobs, workers, and training programs. These tools can employ data on required competencies, resumes, online job ads, and occupational demand to connect job seekers to jobs and postsecondary education and training programs that meet their needs. They can also assist mid- and late-career adults who need additional education, training, and career services to remain in the workforce.
Governments should use labor market data to develop new digital tools which make insights easier for job seekers to interpret. Such tools could help young people to make more informed training and skills development decisions, for instance, based on which jobs are likely to be at most risk of disappearing in the next two decades and the skills required for them. Such tools would help to match current skills development with future skills needs.
Governments should launch open data initiatives to encourage the sharing of public and private labor market data. Unleashing the full potential of labor market data though the creation of open public-private data infrastructures can empower students and employees and reduce labor market frictions.
State governments should implement Pay for Success strategies to expand career and technical education for low-skilled workers. Pay for Success is a contractual arrangement that ties payment for delivery of services to specific, measurable outcomes. This public policy tool may be used to test new workforce development programs guided by predetermined outcomes for a target population or a community, such as sustained employment or demonstrable wage increases for participants. Because payment is contingent on achievement of the intended outcome, taxpayers do not bear the risk of paying for programs or services that may not be effective.
Governments can enact legislation to develop and oversee the establishment of a portable benefits system. With a portable system, essential benefits would be tied to the individual worker rather than the employer. A wide range of benefits could be made portable, including health insurance, retirement, training programs, and childcare allowances. These "portable, prorated, and universal" benefits would provide more financial security to formal and informal workers alike.
Governments should create and enforce provisions to prevent platform economy companies (such as food delivery services) from retaining tips meant for workers.
Businesses should measure and publish real time labor market data. Data covering skills demand and supply, future job forecasts, and other factors that influence employability could be used to create tools aimed at helping workers plan their careers and to design upskilling training program.. Policymakers and researchers could also use these data to better study local labor markets in order to plan for future changes.
Governments should promote policies encouraging employers to reduce working hours, which would grant workers additional leisure time and redistribute productivity gains more equitably. More leisure time, combined with increased income and purchasing power, generates demand for new activities and products and grows the economy.
Governments should develop a regulatory framework to ensure tha new financing tools, such as income sharing agreements (ISAs), do not further predatory student debt collection practices. Policies can reduce risks associated with emerging financing models by limiting stacked ISAs, shifting risk from students to funders, and banning discriminatory and predatory practices.
Governments should guarantee sufficient funding for job centers, so that they have the resources to guide workers through transitions, as well as train counselors to better use technology and data to advise workers. Career counseling and other reemployment services, such as job listings, job search assistance, and referrals to employers, has been shown to effectively assist displaced workers in transitioning back to work.
The US is currently in the bottom 5 of developed countries in terms of public spending on transition assistance and retraining programs. Governments should fortify and increase transition assistance for people in between jobs. This can be achieved through the provision of counseling and guidance, retraining, and business start-up support for displaced workers, among other mechanisms.
Government agencies should partner with local governments and non-profits to target training programs to disadvantaged groups, including disconnected youth. If these populations are redirected to education, training, and gainful employment, potential cost savings in public assistance, incarceration, and lost wage costs accrue both to individuals receiving training and to taxpayers.
States should offer tax credits to employers that hire apprentices. Business should be encouraged to develop apprenticeship programs to keep up with the changing needs of the market, and research has demonstrated that apprenticeships are effective in placing workers in well-paying jobs.
Governments should make available in cross-state wage data exchanges (such as the State Wage Interchange System) information that employers report quarterly to measure the outcomes of postsecondary education and training programs. States can also use this data to regularly evaluate whether schools should be included on their ETPLs.
Unions should advocate in new ways for workers through legal means, alliance formation, and regulatory reform, taking into account the potential impacts of automation on their fields. The authors advocate for decentralized and/or innovative collective bargaining structures to include more isolated groups of workers, particularly in light of the rise of flexible work arrangements. Non-standard employment in fields vulnerable to automation creates substantial opportunities for membership, since more and more individuals are in need of the services and support that workers’ organizations offer.
Unions can develop and offer financial services like, portable benefits, directly to their members.
Governments can test out Universal Basic Income (UBI) with regional, state, or municipal pilots. UBI allows workers to be more selective by eliminating the need to accept poor working conditions to make ends meet, and can allow unemployed individuals to more time to gain skills needed to re-enter the workforce.
Governments should pass legislation clarifying the classification of emerging types of employees, as well as the enforcement of workers' rights for currently unprotected employees. Legislators should focus on a clearer outline of the tests for employment status, setting out key principles in primary legislation and using secondary legislation and guidance to provide more detail.
State governments should incentive job creation in the care economy via voucher based work solutions. An employer would receive a voucher from a public authority to be used as payment for a worker’s service. This would help to legalize undeclared work in casual work industries such as agriculture and household services.
Worker networks and labor organizations can establish worker centers to help workers organize and more effectively engage in collective bargaining. Workers centers are nonprofit, community-based organizations that provide social services and labor resources. They help fill a void in sectors where non-standard forms of employment predominate and in industries where workers face barriers to formal unionization.
Governments can incentivize businesses to take a more active role in investing in worker training through the establishment of a Worker Training Tax Credit. Firms could create a base expenditure level for training expenses, and the credit would be a percentage of the difference between the current year qualified training expenditure and the base expenditure. The credit would only cover training for non-highly compensated workers (less than $120,000 per year), the standard currently used in the Internal Revenue Code.
Policymakers should create worker-controlled Lifelong Learning and Training Accounts to be funded jointly by workers, employers, and government. Workers can use these funds to pay for learning programs over the course of their careers. All workers should have financial assistance and a portable system to help them access new education and training opportunities.
Policymakers should create worker-elected work councils and require a certain level of worker representation on corporate boards. Employers should be pushed to give workers a greater voice in decision-making that affects them, and workers need to be part of strategizing how to ensure automation decisions are made to benefit not only shareholders, but also workers and communities.
Governments should remove obstacles to participating in work and learning by closing gaps in access to medical and mental health care, including for those recovering from substance use disorders. Policies should work toward an ecosystem in which all workers, including those with disabilities, can participate in work and learning opportunities.
Governments should put forward policies that include funding and incentives to redesign community college curricula to 1) integrate remedial education and vocational training (rather than have them be sequential); 2) create shorter courses that provide usable credentials on the path to a degree; and 3) provide more financial support over shorter intervals to allow adults to focus on studies rather than work while enrolled.
Firms should establish board-level AI advisory units to ensure that their boards understand the implications of AI technology, including safety, ethics, and governance considerations.
While some automated technologies raise productivity and deliver economic benefits that can help offset the impacts of displacement, others (labeled by some researchers as “so-so technology") may deliver limited benefit while adversely impacting workers. Governments and employers need more investigation and a more nuanced understanding of the merits of specific types of automation and technology, such as self-checkout. Defining “good” and “bad”—or, perhaps, “worse”—automation can be useful in regulating change, determining policy priorities, and deploying employer or worker incentives.
Governments should take steps to address the recent proliferation of noncompete and similar provisions in employment contracts. Creating and enforcing provisions against the improper use of noncompetes and no-poach/no-hire agreements can improve working people's wages and job mobility.
Policymakers should consider the “ABC Test” as a legal standard for evaluating whether workers must be classified as employees (as opposed to independent contractors or other non-standard arrangements). Under this test, the default assumption is that workers are employees unless certain conditions are satisfied. Wide adoption of the ABC test for determining employee status would lead to greater compliance and would benefit workers, employers, and enforcers alike. The test would provide a more clear and comprehensible method for all parties to determine status, in contrast to the plethora of overlapping yet distinct tests that exist in many jurisdictions.
Governments should promote the development of affordable housing in urban periphery communities. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development defines households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing as “cost burdened” and estimates that some 12 million households spend over 50 percent of their income on housing. This problem is especially severe in the suburbs, where more Americans live below the poverty line than in the urban core. Investing in affordable housing in Urban Periphery communities can make residence in the community attractive and accessible to people who work in the metro center.
Law- and policy makers should consider new regulations that interpret anti-discrimination laws in light of predictive hiring tools. Predictive or algorithmic hiring technology, increasingly in use by major employers across the world, are subject to human bias and can affect equity throughout the entire hiring process. Current laws and enforcement frameworks must be updated to hold vendors of such technology accountable and ensure that workers and job applicants continue to be treated with fairness in recruiting, interviewing, and selection.
Governments should expressly protect the right to collectively bargain among any independent contractors who: (1) do not employ any employees; (2) who make little capital investment—roughly defined as investment that is limited to the needs of the independent contractor personally (e.g., one car, one set of tools, one computer, etc.)—in their “businesses”; and (3)who share the same economic relationship with a single company.
Government agencies should collaborate and share data where possible to locate violators of worker misclassification laws. In many states, individual agencies often operate in silos, each with its own internal culture and method. Because most misclassification and payroll fraud violations consist of multiple infractions – wage and hour, unemployment, tax and insurance fraud – enforcement will be that much more effective if the appropriate agencies share information and strategies.
Firms should focus on the creation of better data environments to maximize the use of machine learning for public problem-solving. Efforts could focus on improving the systems and protocols by which data is defined, gathered, accessed and manipulated. This includes government initiatives for open public data, industry-government collaboration on data and code verification, or audits and policy frameworks (or agreements) to make strategic data available to specific users – with specified safeguards – in order to enable AI applications for societal and environmental benefits.
Governments should use state data systems to evaluate training programs. States could combine administrative data from Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records with educational data via a state longitudinal data system (SLDS) to the measure the effectiveness of training programs. This increase in transparency would help workers and students to make more informed choices about training programs.
Lawmakers should provide an express legal designation for the misclassification of workers who should be employees as independent contractors. In many states, there is no express prohibition on misclassification, but the issue arises through the enforcement and case law development under wage and hour, unemployment, and other laws. Creating this designation can streamline enforcement efforts and allow jurisdictions to impose specific penalties for misclassification.
Universities or employers should offer modules for students to earn "digital badges" that signal soft skill development. Formalizing and professionalizing these career markers can allow individuals to craft a career around roles that involve care work or otherwise do not require specialized training, many of which cannot be replaced by technology.
Governments should require employers to facilitate workers’ communication by providing workers (and/or worker organizations) with a way to contact their coworkers. This obligation could run either to everyone in the organization, a default that many companies currently use (e.g., because their internal email address books include everyone in the organization); to all of the workers in an organization who are covered by labor law; or to subsets of workers who do similar jobs. This requirement could be as straightforward as requiring employers to provide workers with a list of company email addresses or other contact information, but a communications-facilitation requirement could be more effective if workers had a private forum for online communication.
Governments should pass laws to create mechanisms for digital picket lines, requiring employers to allow workers to mirror in-person collective action in online transactions. Functioning essentially as a disclosure regime, the digital picket line would require employers to allow workers to inform online customers about strikes occurring at the employer’s physical site.
Governments should recognize the wide variety of forms of modern self-employment and consider the potential of digital platforms to offer support to self-employed people. While self-employment is growing in popularity, this group of the labor force lacks access to the benefits of employed workers and is less likely to have savings for retirement. Government-supported digital platforms could make it easier for workers to make the correct tax payments, pay into pensions, and give self-employed workers a stronger voice.
Governments should expand access to skills training by making workers who lose their jobs eligible for a Dislocation Reskilling Account. The account would provide public funds to invest in training through an apprenticeship or other training program, with a community organization or at a community or technical college, to prepare workers who lose their jobs for new jobs created as a result of technological shifts in the workplace.
Policymakers should respond to changing demographics by promoting diversity of labor contractual arrangements. Fostering more flexible and destandardized working conditions will allow increase labor market participation and inclusion by attracting vulnerable groups, such as women, people with a disability, ethnic minorities. For example, population ageing calls for longer working lives but also the need to develop more flexible working arrangements that fit the abilities and preferences of older people.
Governments should consider explicitly regulating or prohibiting electronic monitoring of an employee’s activities without prior notice to all employees who may be affected.
Employers should develop their own training programs, with a focus on building work-based learning models (apprenticeships). Local employers should be involved in developing these programs to ensure that curricula meet their needs. Employers should pay their apprentices and ideally employ program participants full-time upon graduation. Apprenticeships can both lower the cost of additional education and help employers develop a pipeline of future employees.
Policymakers should develop legislation that makes it easier for workers to receive basic details about their employment relationship up front, such as requiring employers to provide a written statement of terms to the employee upon hiring. as well as updating the rules on continuous employment to make it easier to accrue service. This would include basic information about the workers' weekly hours and wages, sick pay, pension, healthcare benefits, and whether the employee begins receiving these on day one or must first work for a period of time. Such a notice should be written in simple language that is understandable and not filled with legalese, such that there is little chance for misunderstanding between the worker and employer about what the terms and expectations of employment are.
Educational institutions and providers should incorporate transversal competencies—such as better management of one’s own learning, social and interpersonal relations, and communication—into learning methods from pre-school to training schemes for mature workers. Transversal competencies are skills that can be easily transferred from one specific profession to another. Refitting education for the demands of the world of work requires new forms of schooling and teaching with a focus on the application of knowledge.
Governments should use active labor market policies to help transition unemployed workers into the workforce, targeting structural issues rather than cyclical trends. These could be public employment services, job search assistance, training, employment subsidies, and targeted assistance programs to encourage entrepreneurship among unemployed persons. ALMPs help workers acquire new skills that increase their earnings and hiring prospects in the long term.
Universities should offer more modules and courses focusing on the ethics in technological innovation. A systematic educational approach could help new tech leaders distinguish between technologies that expand the capability of workers and those that merely extract from them without increasing their potential.
Employers should extend benefits frequently enjoyed by full-time employees to their part-time and contingent workers.These workers are often ineligible for many taxpayer-supported programs that are designed to provide them with basic protections on the job and in retirement, and they have limited prospects for career advancement. If workers were eligible for benefits on a prorated basis, the incentive for businesses to expand the use of contingent work would also be reduced or eliminated.
Investors should create and abide by a Charter for Ethical Technology Investments so that there exists a widespread standard for investing in ethical innovations. Investors are increasingly active in shaping the behavior of tech firms, and their influence can successfully pressure large companies to take into account the potential risks of technology on workers.
Governments should raise the minimum wage and subsequently make targeted minimum wage increases consistent with local conditions. A higher minimum wage boosts earnings for workers with little effect on overall employment.
The state government should consider a higher minimum wage for hours worked that are not guaranteed in a workers' contract. While this would allow employers to offer zero-hour contracts to workers who want them, employers would be incentivized to schedule more of workers' guaranteed hours in advance. If set at a proper rate to accomplish this, with consideration for the effect on minimum wage law compliance, such a policy would provide additional compensation to workers for the flexibility demanded of them.
Tech companies should give hiring preference to applicants who have taken ethical modules.
Governments should broadly define the joint employers liable for compliance with labor and employment laws. This includes penalizing lead companies when their contractors violate labor and employment laws; regulating temp and staffing agencies and raising standards for their workers; and holding global corporations and governments accountable for labor standards in their supply chains, including public procurement. Employers, joint employers, and lead firms all must be held accountable for ensuring decent work.
Governments should fully assess the impact of workforce changes occurring due to technological disruption, demographic changes and business innovation. Measures should take into account the impact of such changes on participation rate, new forms of work, skill gaps, sector obsolescence, and sector growth. Such measurements will allow policy makers to create timely, evidence-based policies.
Education and training systems must prepare workers to be flexible and to develop new skills in response to rapid changes brought by new technologies. Governments should collaborate with these institutions to provide incentives and means for workers to obtain training and education not only in technical areas but also in creativity, management, and social and communication skills. These are among the least automatable tasks, according to a task-oriented framework for categorizing skills developed by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Governments should significantly increase employer penalties for intervening in organizing campaigns, including making punitive damages available. For example, if an employee is discharged or suffers other serious economic harm in violation of the substantive rights to organize provided by labor law, the new statute should require that the employee be awarded backpay (without any reduction for interim earnings) and an additional award in damages.
Workers may respond to computer augmentation in their field by heading for the intellectual high ground. These workers will strive for senior-level management roles that require experience and insight to quickly understand how the world is changing. This will put such workers in have a position that is comfortably above the level of simple automation while allowing them to rely on machines only for their "intellectual spadework."
Employers should create “returnships,” or intern programs targeted to mid-career and older workers. Even when they are highly educated and qualified for particular positions, many older or career-switching job seekers face a stigma when applying for jobs. This could be reduced by the introduction of formalized work experience programs to help them return to the workforce.
Municipal and state governments should cooperate with other states’ and municipalities' licensing qualifications to make it possible for workers to move around and enter different job markets with transferable credentials. Many jobs are going unfilled because of restrictions related to credentialing, mobility, and hiring practices: one study suggested that licensing restrictions resulted in teachers near the Oregon border in Washington State being three times as likely to move teaching jobs elsewhere in Washington as to make the much shorter move across the border to teach in Oregon. The lack of cross-state cooperation in recognizing these credentials is a major obstacle to mobility.
Governments should invest in education and skills training not only for workers who risk losing their jobs to augmentation or automation, but also for middle-skill workers. The number of such workers in healthcare professions, such as respiratory therapists, dental hygienists, and clinical laboratory technicians, as well as production workers in operative, technical, and administrative positions, is expected to shrink in the next decade due to retirement. This presents the opportunity to hire millions of new workers to replace these vacant positions, which will require investment in accessible training paths such as community college education and sectoral training programs.
Discussions on decent work should go beyond distinctions between standard and non-standard forms of work to consider the quality of jobs; governments should develop measures to assess this quality based on objective and measurable dimensions. This will focus solutions on improving the quality of jobs rather than simply the nature of the contract.
If new technology will eliminate or fundamentally change an individual worker’s current job, governments should legislatively require employers to give them a minimum advance notice of that change, and to take on some of the responsibility for helping them transition into a new job. The employer could fulfill that responsibility by paying for that worker to train for a new position at their current company—including any remedial training needed to meet the minimum qualifications of the new position—or by providing a minimum severance payment and training voucher that the worker could use at a community college or a certified training provider. Workers facing technological change should have either a path to a new job at their current company or a chance to succeed at a new company with their economic security intact.