Funded by the TIME'S UP Impact Lab

The Impact of Unpredictable Scheduling for Working Women During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has both revealed and exacerbated gender and racial inequities in the U.S. workforce. Women in hourly and low-paying jobs — especially Black and Latinx women — who work in industries with unpredictable scheduling practices have disproportionately faced low pay, insufficient benefits, job insecurity, and discrimination in the workplace.

Unpredictable scheduling practices, which is most common in the food service, retail, grocery, and health services industries, subject workers to irregular and inconsistent work hours and provides them with little to no control over their schedules. These practices have been shown to cause negative health outcomes, including increased stress, increased work-family conflict, food and housing insecurity, and negative effects on mental and emotional wellbeing.

A new report by the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research found that the majority of U.S. hourly workers face unpredictable schedules in the absence of laws that protect workers from unpredictable scheduling practices. The report, “Exploring The Legal Response to Unpredictable Scheduling Burdens for Women in the Workplace,“ by Sophia M. Mitchell, DeAnna Baumle, and Lindsay K. Cloud, explored laws that regulate workplace scheduling to better understand how these laws affect women in the workplace prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This report was made possible thanks to major support from the TIME’S UP Foundation and the Time’s Up, Measure Up initiative. Time’s Up, Measure Up is generously supported by Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates.