Improving health and economic security by reducing work schedule uncertainty

, and

Read the Full Article

Alongside wages, work schedules are a fundamental component of job quality, yet work schedules are largely unregulated in the US labor market. In 2017, Seattle became the second large US city to pass fair workweek legislation. Seattle’s Secure Scheduling ordinance aims to increase schedule predictability by requiring employers to provide 2 wk notice of work schedules, among other provisions. Our paper shows that Seattle’s law not only increased schedule predictability but also improved subjective well-being, sleep quality, and economic security. The law had no effect on reports of psychological distress. Using the natural experiment afforded by Seattle’s fair workweek law, we provide causal evidence that uncertainty about work time has harmful effects on worker happiness, sleep quality, and material hardship.

Kristen Harknett, Daniel Schneider, and Veronique Irwin. “Improving health and economic security by reducing work schedule uncertainty.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 118(41)