Unstable, unpredictable, and insufficient: How work scheduling feeds service worker woes

“Service sector workers suddenly found themselves in the spotlight at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, because so many were designated “essential” and needed to work on site, while employees from other sectors retreated to home.

The attention on these normally low-profile and often low-pay professions has exposed problems for these workers that aren’t new – just newly visible. Among them: lousy work schedules.

Those schedules were the focus of an issue brief released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, “Unstable, unpredictable, and insufficient: Work scheduling in the service sector in New England.

The brief was written by Daniel Schneider, a visiting scholar at the Bank and a professor of public policy and sociology at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.”


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