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PART-TIME: Should Employees Have a Say on Their Work Schedules?

Thursday, Jul. 31, 2014

Source: Wikipedia

A recent article by the New York Times, A Push to Give Steadier Shifts to Part-Timers, profiles an increasing problem: the harsh scheduling practices that part-time workers face. These practices range from being scheduled only one day a week, requirements to be on call for days at a time, and not knowing work schedules until a day or two before. In response, women’s and labor groups have launched a national campaign to curb these practices, which they see as barriers to a healthy family life and ability to find a better job. Corporate groups have responded aggressively, claiming any more government regulation will further impede solid business decisions, particularly as many are still struggling after the recession. Should employers pay employees extra for on-call work and give two weeks’ notice of a work schedule? Are employers obligated to factor in their employees’ family and personal lives into their bottom line business decisions?

  Kirk: This is what happens when purely instrumental or economic thinking takes hold in corporate offices. A singular focus on efficiency ignores the impact on personal development and family life. These practices treat workers as expendable. I suspect must companies that follow these practices experience excessive turnover and declining efficiency. Caring for your workers’ welfare is actually good business.

  Patrick: There are a lot of moving parts of this issue. For one, many industries necessitate a flexible workforce, e.g. restaurants and retail, and business owners are under great pressure to keep costs down. Still, we must attempt to balance the efficiency gains with the personal and social costs that these practices incur. Some companies are already taking a shot at this, such as Macy’s and Walmart, which allow part-time workers to go to a website to claim available shifts. Another, Zara, has agreed to give employees 2 weeks notice of their work schedules. While not groundbreaking, they are steps in the right direction, and will hopefully prevent the need for drastic increases in regulation.

A Push to Give Steadier Shifts to Part-Timers (NY Times)

A Framework for Thinking Ethically (Markkula Center)

 

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Comments Comments

part time retail worker said on Oct 26, 2014
Caring for workers welfare is actually good for business. I've taken a "part time" job in retail while I look for a job. The job pays minimum wage which is $7.55 an hour in this state. I can honestly say that this is the worst job I've ever had -- not because of the job I'm doing but because of the way the managers have treated me. And, it started as soon as I was hired. Day one, I was not given the job that I applied for. Instead they tried to force me into a position that I did not want and completely ignored the availability that I provided them. When I said that I did not want that job, I was told that I would have to see the store manager and that "people usually go where they tell them to." Sitting down with the store manager my first day there did not sit well with me. And, now, I realize that I should have just turned around and walked out the door. I drive 38 miles to work there which costs me about $10 a day round trip. On the last schedule that went up they have me scheduled to work 6 days and two of the shifts are 4 hour shifts. When I spoke with the manager who does scheduling, he told me that was basically "too bad" and that they wouldn't guarantee me an 8 hour shift. This retailer is "still hiring"... because they don't have enough people to cover the shifts that they need covered but they have dependable people who are doing a good job for them and this is how they get treated. I can't wait until I find another job -- almost anywhere is better than here! - Like - 1 person likes this.
Part time Retail Worker said on Oct 26, 2014
Caring for workers welfare is actually good for business. I've taken a "part time" job in retail while I look for a job. The job pays minimum wage which is $7.55 an hour in this state. I can honestly say that this is the worst job I've ever had -- not because of the job I'm doing but because of the way the managers have treated me. And, it started as soon as I was hired. Day one, I was not given the job that I applied for. Instead they tried to force me into a position that I did not want and completely ignored the availability that I provided them. When I said that I did not want that job, I was told that I would have to see the store manager and that "people usually go where they tell them to." Sitting down with the store manager my first day there did not sit well with me. And, now, I realize that I should have just turned around and walked out the door. I drive 38 miles to work there which costs me about $10 a day round trip. On the last schedule that went up they have me scheduled to work 6 days and two of the shifts are 4 hour shifts. When I spoke with the manager who does scheduling and reminded him that I drove 45 minutes to work and that for a 4 hour shift I'd be making about $15 after I paid for gasoline, he informed me that "too bad" and that they wouldn't guarantee me an 8 hour shift. This retailer is "still hiring"... because they don't have enough people to cover the shifts that they need covered but they have dependable people who are doing a good job for them and this is how they get treated. Yes, they scheduled me to open the store 6 days in a row because they don't have anyone else to work those shifts but they don't give a damn about me. I can't wait until I find another job -- almost anywhere is better than here! - Like - 1 person likes this.
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