Study Finds Workers Favor Reduced-Work Schedules

Nearly 80% of 600 unionized workers surveyed by the Work In America Institute, Scarsdale, N.Y., said they would likely take advantage of reduced-work schedules at some point in their career, and 25% said they would do so now. A smaller group of non-union employees also surveyed showed an even more widespread interest in working fewer hours. "For many workers today, too often the only choice is between a full-time position or a low-quality part-time one, with low pay and minimal benefits or job security," said Will Friedman, director of the study. "Our data suggests that new scheduling options would help not only individual workers, but could also help organizations attract and retain quality workers, reduce unscheduled absences, help unions attract new and younger members, and generally raise morale." Rather than dramatically reducing their work time, most interested unionized workers said they would like a 10% to 20% reduction. Some of the practices mentioned by the Work In America Institute include allowing workers to buy more vacation time and variable-part-year schedules (as opposed to part day or part week). Workers ages 18 to 34 were more likely to desire working fewer hours than those 55 and older (45% vs. 32%). Women, as well as workers in places with adversarial management relationships, were especially interested in working less. The full study is available at the Labor Project for Working Families at laborproject.berkeley.edu/publications/research/time.pdf.

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