Flexible Workplace Solutions for Low-Wage Hourly Worker: A Framework for a National Conversation

Source: Liz Watson and Jennifer E. Swanberg, Workplace Flexibility 2010 at Georgetown Law & Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) at the University of Kentucky, May 2011

From the abstract:
The quality of employment in the U.S. has declined significantly, especially among those at the lower end of the pay scale. Workers in low-wage hourly jobs are less likely to have access to health insurance and other employer-sponsored benefits, to be unionized, or to have access to flexible work arrangements — a popular workplace practice used to assist employees with meeting work and family responsibilities. Many organizations’ work-family policies focus on flexible work arrangements for professional workers at the exclusion of workers in low-wage hourly jobs. Therefore, common forms of flexibility are not easily transferable to hourly jobs. Moreover, these forms of flexibility often overlook the main cause of work-family conflict among low-wage hourly workers — scheduling practices. Work-life scholars and policy advocates have called for an expansion of the definition of flexible work arrangements to address scheduling problems for low-wage hourly workers and to include solutions responsive to their circumstances.To address this knowledge gap in flexible work arrangements, this paper conceptualizes three types of scheduling problems, determines their prevalence using the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, identifies three types of flexible workplace solutions that can address them, and proposes workplace and public policy strategies for incorporating flexible work solutions into low-wage hourly jobs.

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