Underwork, Work‐Hour Insecurity, and a New Approach to Wage and Hour Regulation
22 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015
Date Written: October 2015
When it was passed in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sought to address the “evils” of underpay and overwork by establishing an hourly minimum wage and requiring premium overtime pay. However, today's low‐wage, hourly workers more often face underwork than overwork, as well as fluctuating, unstable schedules, neither of which is addressed by the FLSA. This paper presents and assesses the effectiveness of an alternative approach to wage and hour regulation, the “reporting pay” guarantee. We begin by examining the problem of work‐hour insecurity, particularly employers’ practice of sending workers home early from scheduled shifts. We then move to a detailed assessment of state laws that require reporting pay, as well as reporting pay guarantees in union contracts and private‐employer practices that attempt to address the problem of work‐hour insecurity. We conclude by considering paths for strengthening such protections in law.
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