Stabilizing Low-Wage Work

49 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014 Last revised: 26 Apr 2016

Charlotte Alexander

Georgia State University - Risk Management & Insurance Department; Georgia State University College of Law

Anna Haley-Lock

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nantiya Ruan

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: March 25, 2014

Abstract

Low-wage, hourly-paid service workers are increasingly subject to employers’ “just-in-time” scheduling practices. In a just-in-time model, employers give workers little advance notice of their schedules, call workers in to work during non-scheduled times to meet unexpected customer demand, and send workers home early when business is slow. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the main guarantor of workers’ wage and hour rights, provides no remedy for the unpredictable work hours and income instability caused by employers’ last minute call-in and send-home practices. This Article examines two alternative sources of legal protection that have received little attention in the literature on low-wage work: provisions in unionized workers’ collective bargaining agreements that guarantee a minimum number of hours of pay when workers are called in to or sent home from work unexpectedly, and state laws that contain similar guaranteed pay provisions. The Article concludes by assessing these tools’ effectiveness in reducing work hour fluctuations and income instability in low-wage, hourly service jobs.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Charlotte and Haley-Lock, Anna and Ruan, Nantiya, Stabilizing Low-Wage Work (March 25, 2014). Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 50, 2015; U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2327903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2327903

Charlotte Alexander

Georgia State University - Risk Management & Insurance Department ( email )

35 Broad Street
Room 1142
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

Anna Haley-Lock

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

United States
608-262-5766 (Phone)

Nantiya Ruan (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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