The Real Effects of Fair Workweek Laws on Work Schedules: Evidence from Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia
65 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2023
Date Written: October 22, 2023
Effective in eight jurisdictions and banned in four, Fair Workweek Laws (FWL) aim to increase the predictability and stability of work schedules. Among other requirements, these laws penalize employers for unilaterally adjusting work schedules without providing some pre-specified amount of advance notice. This penalty is proportional to the affected employee's wage, and is paid directly to the affected employee. In this paper, we study the effects of FWLs on worker schedules in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia using administrative shift-level data covering multiple retailers. Consistent with their objectives of increasing work schedule predictability, we estimate significant increases in advance notice provided for covered employees. However, we estimate null effects on a series of variables that capture work schedule stability. Our analysis also rules out commonly raised concerns about FWLs, such as: (i) a reduction in scheduled work for employees, (ii) increased employee turnover, (iii) decreased employee hiring, (iv) an increased use of part-time employees, and (v) the possibility that these laws disproportionately benefit higher-wage workers, since penalties are a function of the underlying employees' wage. Overall, while FWLs are effective in reducing the number of short-notice shifts (but not completely), they are ineffective in increasing the stability of work schedules.
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