Rohan Grey & Jillian Hernandez
Title: What Guarantee? What Job? Inclusion and Equity Considerations in the Design of the Job Guarantee
Abstract: Advocates of publicly funded direct employment programs along the lines of a Job Guarantee or Employer of Last Resort (ELR) emphasize their success in providing employment opportunities for women presently excluded from the formal economy. While such outcomes are admirable, they are not experienced equally by all women. In particular, undocumented workers, and/or those currently involved in criminalized or stigmatized industries, such as sex work, are likely to face additional legal and administrative barriers to participating in and benefiting equally from a job guarantee program.
Removing these barriers is a first-order policy design consideration. Undocumented and immigrant workers comprise a significant fraction of the global labor force, and their second-class legal status with respect to labor protections and political and economic rights is a major source of economic and gender violence. Furthermore, a universal jobs program that excludes currently stigmatized workers risks reinforcing existing disparities in labor standards between the formal and informal economy. Perhaps most importantly, those seeking to advance a universal right to employment beyond proof-of-concept to the point of legislative implementation must preemptively address public anxieties regarding national security, access to public goods by non-citizens, and public funding of stigmatized social activity.
This paper explores a number of these issues from a macroeconomic policy and individual human rights’ perspective, informed by the authors’ experiences as practicing attorneys in community-based service organizations.
Rohan Grey, Esq.
President, The Modern Money Network
Research Scholar, Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity
Appellate Attorney, Children’s Law Center
227 Troy Avenue, Apt 1C,
Brooklyn, New York, 11213
Jillian Hernandez, Esq.
Staff Attorney, Immigration Protection Unit, New York Legal Assistance Group
 See, e.g., P. Tcherneva & R. Wray, 2005, Gender and the Job Guarantee: The Impact of Argentina’s Jefes Program on Female Heads of Poor Households, Center for Full Employment and Price Stability Working Paper No. 50, available at http://www.cfeps.org/pubs/wp-pdf/WP50-Tcherneva-Wray.pdf.