Building an Inclusive, Thriving Workforce: Fair Scheduling Practices Increase Stability & Family Well-Being

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Just-in-time scheduling can mean finding out on Sunday that you are expected to work Monday, or arranging childcare and taking the bus to work only to be sent home because business is slow, or closing the shop late at night and returning to open it again a few hours later. 

It is perhaps unsurprising that a mounting body of evidence suggests that these types of scheduling practices can wreak havoc on workers’ financial security, health, and their families’ well-being. The fourth policy brief in the Institute for Working Families’ ‘inclusive, thriving workforce’ series, Fair Scheduling, notes the following:

  • More than a third of workers with schedules that vary based on their employers’ preferences report that they are “just getting by” or “finding it difficult to get by.”
  • Parents with nonstandard work hours report greater stress and less time spent with their children, leading to irregular mealtimes and bedtimes, poorer child care arrangements, and fewer pre-academic activities at home.
  • Irregular scheduling increases the difficulty of making and keeping health care appointments, well-child visits, and prenatal appointments.
  • Disproportionately, irregular scheduling affects women and Black and Latinx workers.

“Fair scheduling practices are essential to an inclusive, thriving workforce,” said Erin Macey, Senior Policy Analyst at Indiana Institute for Working Families. “Providing advance notice of schedules and additional pay for last minute shift changes, clopening, or split shifts would increase families’ abilities to maintain a family budget, plan childcare and transportation, add a second job, or attend classes. Ironically, it might also increase businesses’ bottom lines, since irregular and last-minute scheduling practices increase job dissatisfaction and turnover.”

Fair scheduling would also help workers in Indiana meet the requirements for programs like SNAP and the Healthy Indiana Plan, which require some workers to report a minimum number of hours per month in order to maintain their benefits. The brief recommends establishing floor-level expectations for scheduling practices, while also supporting positive practices through economic development incentives.

The final brief in the ‘inclusive, thriving’ workforce series will focus on minimum and subminimum wages, and is scheduled to be released October 31st.  

This policy brief and more information about the inclusive, thriving workforce policy series, including a downloadable one-pager of all five topics, can be found here: