Nick of time

Working women hurt by unpredictable schedules

Courtney Moore, a cashier at a Walmart who had her hours cut when she began taking college classes in mornings and some afternoons, in Cincinnati, July 18, 2014. "They said they need someone they could call whenever they need help — and they said I’m not that person," Moore said. Maddie McGarvey/The New York Times

A new report released on Tuesday by the Center for Popular Democracy finds that working women are hit hardest by irregular hours and “just-in-time” scheduling, practices that are widespread throughout the low-wage economy. The analysis found that more than 6 million women are forced to work part-time, as they still shoulder the largest responsibility for family, child care and other obligations. Moreover, women are more likely to work jobs paid on an hourly basis (61 percent vs. 56 percent of men), their income is more likely to fluctuate based on how many hours they are assigned to work per week or month, and they are most impacted by erratic scheduling. This phenomenon leads to a whole array of challenges, researchers say. “Women working more hours are likely to experience the stressful effects of overwork and may often have no choice but to work overtime hours or lose their job,” the report says. “However, the over 12 million women working part-time in hourly jobs are at greatest risk of both highly erratic schedules and of extreme income fluctuation.” This is particularly hard for women in low-wage jobs, who often don’t receive the perks of paid maternity leave or child care in their jobs. On a hopeful note, however, change is coming, as  Carrie Gleason, the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fair Workweek Initiative directors pointed out that 11 states “have introduced some form of work hours legislation, and this is an issue that was basically not on the map last year.”

Read the full story at Al-Jazeera.

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