Unpredictable work hours and volatile incomes are long-term risks for American workers
Debates about working time tend to focus on quantity. Are American workers having to put in too many hours, especially those with caring responsibilities? This is of course a vitally important question. But it is not the only one. It matters not only how many hours people work, but how much control they have over them. Irregular work hours lead to income volatility for hourly wage workers, increasing the difficulty of making ends meet. “Just-in-time” scheduling practices put workers in a vulnerable financial position—both by destabilizing earnings and by disrupting their access to safety net programs—and make it difficult for them to arrange childcare, attend school, or pick up a second job.