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BRIEF: Low-Wage Workers Suffer from Erratic Work Schedules

April 16, 2014

A policy brief looks at the impact that “unstable and unpredictable scheduling” can have on direct-care workers, retail and food-service employees, and other low-wage workers.

Erratic schedules “are more than simply inconveniences for workers,” the brief argues. The authors link erratic schedules to stress, marital strife, weak health outcomes, and even poor academic performances by workers’ children.

The brief was published jointly by the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Retail Action Project, and Women Employed.

Two “progressive policies” can help combat the problem of erratic work schedules, the authors argue: guaranteed-hours programs and “reporting pay” laws and policies.

Guaranteed-hours programs ensure that workers are paid for a certain number of hours each week, regardless of how many hours they actually work.

Reporting-pay laws and policies, meanwhile, compensate workers who arrive to their job, only to be immediately sent home after their employer determines that their presence is not needed that day.

Eight states, as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, have laws mandating that employers pay workers for at least one hour in those situations.

— by Matthew Ozga

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