Another Barrier to Economic Success Could Be Work Schedules

The paper referenced in this blog post is available to read here on the Aspen Institute website.

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What We Area Reading: Income volatility increases as worker schedules change from month-to-month, says new report from the Aspen Institute

As we previously wrote about those households struggling to make ends meet in West Michigan, there are plenty of barriers to reaching a “survival budget”, meaning that a family can pay for essentials from food, shelter, childcare, and clothing. A new report titled “Stable and Predictable Scheduling as Antidote to Income Volatility” by David S. Mitchell finds another barrier that needs to be addressed: unpredictable work schedules.

Mitchell finds workers have little say

Many workers feel that their work schedules are too variable, too unpredictable, or simply inadequate to sustain a survival budget. According to an Economic Policy Institute paper cited by Mitchell, 55% of workers say they “have variation” in their schedule, 43% said they receive less than a week notice about schedule changes, and 45% say they “have no say” in their schedule.

What can employers do?

The rest of Mitchell’s analysis provides some incredible insight into this often-hidden barrier for low- and middle-income workers, as well as some potential solutions for employers and policymakers. Employers can learn more about the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program, as well as engage with Talent 2025’s Workforce Development Working Group as we begin a series of deep dives into several other barriers facing those struggling to make ends meet. 

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