Scheduling

Strict Start and End Times

Issue: Many low-wage workers rely on public transportation to get to work, but buses frequently run behind and public transportation schedules may not coordinate with shift start times. This can cause workers to be late through no fault of their own. Strict start time policies penalize even a few minutes’
lateness.

Possible Solution: Allow for a 15-minute flex in/out at the beginning and end of workers’ shifts to accommodate transportation issues. For workers who cannot flex their time, remove penalties for being tardy for transportation-related issues.

Unpredictable Shift Schedules

Issue: Unpredictable schedules for hourly workers make it difficult to plan for childcare, doctors’ appointments, and school commitments.

Possible Solution: Provide several weeks’ advance notice of schedules and/or guarantee a minimum number of fixed hours each week.

Mandatory Overtime

Issue: When a worker is unexpectedly required to work overtime without notice, they may have difficulty arranging for child/elder care and transportation.

Possible Solution: Overtime could first be offered to those who want it. If you still need workers, provide as much notice as possible to those who will be expected to work extra hours. The expectation of having to work overtime should be addressed during the recruitment and hiring process.

Sending Scheduled Workers Home During Slow Times

Issue: Low-wage workers depend on the money from every hour they work. Sending a low-wage worker home during slow periods may mean that they can’t cover their costs for the week. It may also affect their benefit status if they fall below a certain number of hours.

Possible Solution: Cross-train employees in multiple roles so that they don’t have to be sent home during downtimes. Be sure to analyze trends in downtimes and determine which training will be needed to avoid sending employees home.