Monday, October 29, 2012

Flexible hours

I was a big fan of flexible hours for staff, when positions needed work done on a non-critical time scale.  But this new trend twards scheduling hours at the last minute and a new focus on part time work seems deeply sub-optimal.  Even the case the article cites as wanting to have part time work:

To be sure, many people prefer to work part time — for instance, college students eager for extra spending money and older people earning money for presents during the holiday season.
Having been a working student, let me assure you that a time schedule that changes every week (when my class schedule is fixed) is not an advantage.  Not in the least. 

But the other interesting piece is this:

The widening use of part-timers has been a bane to many workers, pushing many into poverty and forcing some onto food stamps and Medicaid. And with work schedules that change week to week, workers can find it hard to arrange child care, attend college or hold a second job, according to interviews with more than 40 part-time workers.
 Two very interesting pieces here.  One, the use of Medicaid to cover heatlth care expenses really does suggest that it might actually be pro-worker to have universal, basic health insurance.  Whether it is practical or not, that seems to be what employers are pushing for with their actions.  Two, a world where one part time job makes it impossible to hold a second (as schedules shift at the last minute) is deeply worker unfriendly.  I think that full employment would seem to be the solution to this dilemma, as workers could quit jobs that were too inconsistent on a week to week basis. 

1 comment:

  1. It is particularly funny when companies advertise jobs: "Great pay. Flexible hours. Opportunity for advancement." Why funny? Because flexible hours means flexible for the employer not the employee. I really hadn't considered the second job part of the question, but I don't see you could hold a second job if you were holding a "flexible hour" first job.

    I have a friend who has to find out his schedule each week. That schedule is posted a few days before the week starts. On top of that, he is occasionally called into the work the day before. I don't know how he does it.