Research from The Shift Project points to the prevalence of short-notice, or 'just-in-time,' scheduling at the largest retail and food services companies and examines how these practices affect material hardships, as well as child development and health.
In a recently published study in the American Sociological Review, The Shift Project finds that White workers in U.S. retail and food-service industries are less likely to have "on-call" shifts. The study also finds that having a manager of a different race factors in whether time off is granted and canceled shifts are avoided, older workers are less likely to be exposed to precarious schedules, and workers with more seniority receive more shifts.
In this op-ed, Kristen Harknett and Daniel Schneider invite employers, policymakers, and others to reimagine how they think about essential workers' pay, access to paid sick leave, and work schedules. They also point to the need to consider how these experiences differ across racial/ethnic and gender groups.
The Shift Project's report on the job quality of California's service sector was commissioned by the Irvine Foundation to increase awareness about the impact that job scheduling and other aspects of job quality have on low-wage workers. The report notes the effects that unpredictable schedules have on daily life, time with family, quality sleep, and more.
The Shift Project's study conducted in March and April found that 41% of warehouse workers reported new workplace cleaning procedures in response to COVID-19. The report notes that conditions vary across companies, but requirements to wear masks never exceeded one-third of workers.
Daniel Schneider recommends the book "Despotism on Demand: How Power Operates in the Flexible Workplace" by Alex J. Wood, to better understand how precarious scheduling takes advantage of low-wage workers at some the largest firms in the US.
Forbes Corporate Responders and JUST Capital released a report ranking how well the largest employers among U.S. public companies responded to the crisis. Verizon, Target, AT&T, Walmart, Lowe's, Starbucks, and Kroger are within the top 10.
Many employers are putting an end to the bonus hourly pay ("hero pay") they had been providing workers going back to March. Congress has considered increasing frontline workers' pay, but no additional laws have yet passed.
In interviews and internet threads, employees are reporting that companies are providing insufficient protection or benefits, opting instead for rewards that do not address their concerns about job safety or stability. This is in addition to the varying work conditions reported by employees in The Shift Project's survey.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a legal advocacy organization, filed a complaint with the New York State Attorney General against Lidl, a German grocery company which recently acquired Best Market, for the company's compliance with labor protocols mandated for essential businesses. Employees are demanding Lidl for consistent cleaning, full information on and access to paid leave, and hazard pay.