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10/2/2017 | Restoring a Fair Workweek

Certain Uncertainty: Low Wages and Unpredictable Hours Keep Philadelphia Hourly Workers in Poverty

    Today a majority of working people in the United States—three in five workers—are paid by the hour.

    People working hourly jobs have little to no input in their hours and very few workplace protections. A significant and growing number of working people face volatile hours, short-notice shift changes, and unpredictable work schedules. Part-time and hourly jobs often have low wages and fluctuations in both the timing and number of work hours, which hinders people from earning enough to support themselves and their families. When parents and caregivers have variable work hours, whole families are impacted and often struggle to meet basic expenses and to schedule important things like childcare, doctor’s appointments, or family meals.

    While municipalities around the country are taking important steps to raise the minimum wage, many working people still cannot secure enough reliable hours to support their families. Existing workplace protections do not address this crisis of under-employment and the volatile schedules which can contribute to increased levels of poverty among working people. Public policy has not kept up with the realities of the today’s workweek and has failed to protect working families by ensuring equitable, stable work schedules that provide adequate hours. Updating workplace protections will benefit a large share of the local workforce—in Philadelphia one in four workers is part-time and more than 130,000 working people are in the service sector jobs most impacted by unpredictable, variable work hours. Fair Workweek standards have gained momentum as policymakers around the country, including San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, San Jose, Washington DC and Oregon, have enacted new workplace protections. These policies are designed to give working people access to family-sustaining wages and stable work hours.

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    CPD Impact

    Nov 2016: During 2016, the Federal Reserve made an historic shift in how it makes the most important economic decisions in the country. For the first time they are taking into account low-income communities of color. For the past 100 years the Fed has been dominated by white, male, corporate executives who have cared little about building an economy that works for everyone.