Anyone who has worked a nonstandard, part-time job is familiar with the issues: uncertain hours, fluctuating pay and last-minute change. Add to that a more recent scheduling innovation increasingly common in retail work: on-call hours that require workers to set aside time they may be required to work, with no compensation for that time and no guarantee of hours or pay.
Variable schedules are particularly challenging for parents, who can find it difficult to arrange childcare, attend school events, and even maintain morning and bedtime routines. Fluctuating schedules can interfere with ability to attend school or hold down an additional job. Because pay varies with hours, workers may also have difficulty making ends meet.
In response to demands of women’s and labor groups, government officials are increasingly enacting or proposing legislation aiming to curtail practices that present the greatest challenges to employees. Many workers have gained the right to request predictable schedules (although laws currently do not require employers to honor their requests). Other proposals call for work schedules posted two weeks in advance, compensation for on-call status, and extra pay if workers are called in with less than 24-hours notice or are sent home after just a few hours of work.
Unfinished Business: Paid Family Leave in California and the Future of U.S. Work-Family Policy by Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman (Cornell, 2014).
This book analyzes the history of California’s decade-old paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began operating in 2004. Based on original fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, it analyzes the impact of paid family leave on employers and workers in the most populous state in the U.S., and explores the implications for crafting future work-family policy for other states and for the nation as a whole.
The Work-Family Interface: An Introduction by Stephen Sweet (SAGE, 2013).
I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book The Work-Family Interface: An Introduction (Sage 2014). While there are so many good books and articles about work and family, I observed difficulties in locating an engaging narrative that succinctly explained the concepts and perspectives central to “work-family” scholarship. So this book is designed to fill that gap and help instructors orient students (and other interested individuals) to the ways that home and jobs intersect. Included in my discussions are the impacts that institutional arrangements have on lives, capacities to provide and receive care, family formation, business effectiveness, and sustainability. It is also designed to demonstrate the connectedness of families across the world in the global economy. The Work-Family Interface highlights policy paths taken, and those not taken, and the consequences that can be observed by comparing the United States with other societies.