Low-wage pay = non-standard hours = hurt health, relationships

Sept. 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Among all U.S. full-time employees with very low wages, 25 percent work most of their hours on a non-standard schedule 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., researchers say.

Maria Enchautegui of the Urban Institute and colleagues conducted an analysis of 2011 Census Bureau data and found the consequences of non-standard work hours -- 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and anytime on weekends -- such as child care and transportation problems, marital conflict, family instability and health stresses, lie heavily on low-income families.

Non-standard-schedule workers share some of the same challenges with daytime low-wage employees -- including working on employer-controlled schedules, limited paid time off and unpredictable hours -- but they confronted special difficulties carving out time for family, keeping to household routines and helping children with schoolwork.

For example, low-income men with non-standard schedules spend 27 fewer minutes per day with their school-age children than comparable men with standard schedules.

From 2010-11, 15 percent of full-time workers, or 17 million men and women, racked up more than half their hours outside the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. time band or on weekends.

The leading occupations with non-standard schedules included: 56 percent of security guards and gaming surveillance officers had non-standard schedules and median full-time weekly earnings of $519; 53 percent of waiters and waitresses had a non-standard scheduled and median pay of $407; 48 percent of laborers and freight, stock and material movers had a non-standard schedule and median pay of $509; and 44 percent of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides had median pay of $453.

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