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Restoring a Fair Workweek

The Fair Workweek Initiative

Low-wage workers and their families continue to struggle, even as the US economy recovers from the Great Recession of 2008. While stable, middle-income jobs were lost in significant numbers, the recovery to date has been built on the dramatic expansion of low-wage, no-benefit jobs in industries like retail, restaurants, and healthcare, which rely on large part-time workforces. These fast growing low-wage industries are shifting to just-in-time scheduling practices, which in turn fuel massive under-employment and attendant ...

Low-wage workers and their families continue to struggle, even as the US economy recovers from the Great Recession of 2008. While stable, middle-income jobs were lost in significant numbers, the recovery to date has been built on the dramatic expansion of low-wage, no-benefit jobs in industries like retail, restaurants, and healthcare, which rely on large part-time workforces. These fast growing low-wage industries are shifting to just-in-time scheduling practices, which in turn fuel massive under-employment and attendant economic insecurity for workers.

A just-in-time workforce experiences profound insecurity: workers cannot predict their hours or pay from day to day, make time for schooling or to care for children or family, secure a second job, or qualify for promotions to full-time employment. The negative impact on earnings is not simply due to fewer hours of work: America’s 28 million part-time workers earn on average a third less per hour than their full-time counterparts, and do not qualify for critical employer-provided benefits. Low-wage women and workers of color, especially in Black communities, are especially hard hit by this trend.

The Fair Workweek Initiative (FWI), a collaborative effort anchored by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), is bringing together leading worker-organizing and community-based organizations across the country and allied research and policy groups to develop, drive and win policy solutions at the local, state and federal level that concentrates on the priorities of low-wage women and women of color and puts those impacted communities at the forefront of this fight.

We are working to shift employer practices and advance transformative policy change that achieves: 

  • Predictable, stable, transparent schedules
  • Access to full-time employment
  • Equitable part-time work and opportunities to advance
  • A voice in our work schedules
  • Using technology for a high-road in workforce management
  • A 21st Century social safety net for today’s workforce.

With this new baseline, we can provide working families with stable employment, a livable income, and family-sustaining scheduling that will ensure that our recovering economy is built on quality jobs for all.

For more information about the Fair Workweek Initiative, please contact Carrie Gleason at cgleason [@] populardemocracy.org.

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facts & figures

We work either too few hours or far too many. Ever-changing schedules force us to be available 24/7 without a guaranteed steady income, wreaking havoc on our family lives and economic security.

  • For the firs time, a national survey of early career adults has confirmed what millions of workers already knew from experience: workers across the labor market -- but particularly workers in part-time, hourly-waged jobs -- are at high risk of unpredictable, last-minute, fluctuating work hours over which they have no control.
  • One in two hourly workers, including over 45...

We work either too few hours or far too many. Ever-changing schedules force us to be available 24/7 without a guaranteed steady income, wreaking havoc on our family lives and economic security.

  • For the firs time, a national survey of early career adults has confirmed what millions of workers already knew from experience: workers across the labor market -- but particularly workers in part-time, hourly-waged jobs -- are at high risk of unpredictable, last-minute, fluctuating work hours over which they have no control.
  • One in two hourly workers, including over 45% of parents, report that their employer schedules them without their input. 
  • 55% of Black workers have no say in their work schedules.
  • 58% of Hispanic workers have no say in their work schedules.
  • Fully 41% of all early career adults -- and almost half (47%) of those working part-time -- are given their schedules one week or less in advance. 
  • Most workers have fluctuating hours, and among hourly part-time workers, more than four in five (83%) reported that their weekly work hours fluctuated by an average of 87% (when compared to their usual hours). 
  • The more workers' weekly hours fluctuate, the more likely they know their work schedule only a week or less in advance. This makes it impossible for them to predict either their schedule or their income.

Click here to download the infographic.

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