Maternal Exposure to Work Schedule Unpredictability and Child Behavior


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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.

Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett. “Maternal Exposure to Work Schedule Unpredictability and Child Behavior.” Journal of Marriage and Family 84(1): 187-209.