Nearly all 18- to 29-year-old service workers in Los Angeles County are failing to get enough work hours, according to UCLA researchers, who urged officials today to create policy fixes.
The vast majority, 96 percent, of workers in that age range with service
jobs — like food service and retail — experience challenging scheduling
practices, including on-call work, fluctuating hours and little or no advance
notice of work hours, according to a new report by the UCLA Labor Center and
the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
The report, “Juggling Time: Young Workers and Scheduling Practices in
the Los Angeles County Service Sector,” found that 80 percent of young, part-
time workers want to put in more hours.
Employers often hire more part-time workers instead of giving existing
workers the additional hours they want, the researchers said.
“Young workers commonly cited that when employees quit, employers do
not make current employees whole,” said Reyna Orellana, a researcher at the
UCLA Labor Center. “Instead employers commonly hire more workers even though
existing employees may need more hours.”
As many as 40 percent of workers report having their hours cut at the
last moment, according to the report.
National studies show that erratic schedules create significant
challenges for low-wage workers, including work-family conflict, poor health
outcomes, emotional stress, difficult child care arrangements, parenting
struggles, inconsistent school attendance and income volatility, according to
“Young workers in L.A. rely on their income to pay for education,
support their families and meet basic needs,” said co-author Jeylee Quiroz, a
researcher at the UCLA Labor Center. “We can’t dismiss the impact of volatile
schedules on these workers’ lives simply because they are young.”
Workers in California and across the country are organizing to press
for public policies that improve employer scheduling practices.
In 2015, the city of San Francisco became the first jurisdiction to pass
comprehensive fair scheduling legislation, the Retail Workers’ Bill of
Rights, for retail workers employed by large chains. This fall, legislators in
Seattle and the Northern California city of Emeryville followed suit, passing
their own laws protecting retail workers from unfair scheduling.
In November, San Jose voters approved a ballot initiative aimed at
improving access to full-time employment. More than a dozen other jurisdictions
are considering similar legislation, according to the researchers, who urged
local officials to follow suit.
“L.A. County young workers say their voices often go unheard at their
jobs and many report instances of retaliation when they ask their employers for
fair treatment on the job,” said report co-author Liz Ben-Ishai, a senior
policy analyst at CLASP.
“In order to have a say in how their workplaces operate and to have
access to decent schedules, L.A. workers need the protection of public policies
like those that are emerging around the country,” she said.
The report, which includes policy recommendations to give workers
greater control over their hours, is available in full at