Employment and Workplace

Combating Unstable Schedules for Low-wage Workers in Oregon

The advent of just-in-time scheduling technology and practices in the mid-1990s has led to increased schedule instability, resulting in a growing movement to address the need for predictable, stable schedules for workers paid low wages. Unstable schedules have been associated with earnings instability, increased stress and fatigue, sleep irregularity, and worse mental health outcomes for workers.  In this report, P4A researchers Amelia Coffey, Eleanor Lauderback and H. Elizabeth Peters, along with their partners at the University of Oregon’s Department of Sociology Lola Loustaunau, Larissa Petrucci, Ellen Scott and Lina Stepick, examine Oregon’s implementation of S.B. 828, the first statewide predictive scheduling law in the nation, in its first year.

The Impact of Shift Work on Employers’ Health Care Costs

Despite extensive research showing that shift work compromises employee health, jobs that require work outside the traditional daytime hours of 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM have become ubiquitous across economically developed nations. Employers enact work scheduling policies based on the needs of company stakeholders and without evidence of the effect of shift work on health care costs, even though the companies ultimately bear the majority of those costs. Researchers Megan McHugh, Dustin D. French, Mary M. Kwasny, Claude R. Maechling, and Jane L. Holl examined the additional health care costs incurred by two large manufacturing companies due to their shift work requirements in this brief published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Consequences of Work Requirements in Arkansas: Two-Year Impacts on Coverage, Employment, and Affordability of Care

Arkansas implemented Medicaid work requirements in June of 2018. To maintain coverage in the state, adults ages 30-49 were required to work 20 hours a week, participate in “community engagement” activities, or qualify for an exemption. By April 2019, when a federal judge halted the policy, more than 18,000 adults had lost coverage. As an update to research published in 2018, Benjamin D. Sommers, Lucy Chen, Robert J. Blendon, E. John Orav, and Arnold M. Epstein analyzed the policy effects before, during, and after implementation in this Health Affairs brief.

Shift work and long work hours and their association with chronic health conditions: A systematic review of systematic reviews with meta-analyses

Jobs that require work outside the traditional daytime hours of approximately 8 AM to 6 PM have become ubiquitous across economically developed nations, but extensive research shows that shift work and long work hours may compromise employee health. Although employers recognize the potential harmful effects of shift work, many argue in favor of maintaining it, citing the nature of the work requiring a 24/7 schedule (e.g., public safety), maximization of production capacity in response to consumer demand, and in some cases, employee preference for long shifts to maximize days off and pay. In recent publications, P4A researcher Megan McHugh, doctoral student Adovich Rivera, and their colleagues from Northwestern’s Manufacturing and Health Research Program provide evidence on how shift work affects the incidence of chronic illness and overall worker well-being.<.p>

Among Low-Income Women In San Francisco, Low Awareness of Paid Parental Leave Benefits Inhibit Take-Up

Paid family leave policies have the potential to reduce health disparities, yet access to paid leave remains limited and unevenly distributed in the United States. The US is the only OECD country that does not provide paid leave for new parents, and just 8 states and the District of Columbia have passed partially-paid family leave policies. In a new paper, Julia Goodman of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Will Dow of UC Berkeley, and Holly Elser of Stanford University examine the impact of the 2017 San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO), the first in the US to provide parental leave with full pay. 

Mandated Sick Pay: Coverage, Utilization, and Welfare Effects

The United States is one of three OECD countries that does not provide universal access to paid sick leave for all employees. Over the past years, just 12 states have passed sick pay mandates. In a new working paper, P4A researcher Nicolas R. Ziebarth of Cornell University and colleagues Catherine Maclean and Stefan Pichler provide first-of-its-kind evidence on how state-level sick pay mandates affect coverage rates, sick leave utilization, and labor costs.

Commentary

As shoppers prepare for the holidays with trips to the mall, supermarket, and big box stores, many workers who stock the shelves and work the registers are scrambling to piece together child care to match their unpredictable work schedules.

Who Cares If Parents Have Unpredictable Work Schedules?: The Association Between Just-in-Time Work Schedules and Child Care Arrangements

Low-income working parents often face routine uncertainty in their schedules because of “just-in-time” scheduling practices that offer workers little notice of when they will be expected to work. In a new working paper, Kristen Harknett, Daniel Schneider, and Sigrid Luhr of P4A’s Research Hub at University of California, Berkeley, examine the consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules on child care arrangements.

Commentary

When it comes to supporting families through paid family and medical leave policies, the U.S. lags behind other developed nations. What explains the lack of policy action? Perhaps we have not acknowledged paid leave policy for what it really is: a critical backbone of support that follows workers through all the major moments of their lives.