Each of the papers takes a critical look at, and provides empirical evidence on, the nature and ramifications of schedule control in today's labor market, paying particular attention to the experiences of workers in hourly jobs. The papers unpack schedule control by differentiating the nature of control. For example, one paper draws on new questions in national data to investigate how control over the number of weekly work hours versus control over the timing of hours are differentially associated with measures of worker wellbeing versus economic security. Another paper employs national data to examine how the quality of parents' relationship to one another is related to their having access to different flexibility options, from formal flextime programs to being able to adjust daily start and end times. Two papers take an on-the-ground look at schedule control in occupations at the lower-end of the labor market, one focused on a job where work hours are often scarce (sales associate) and the other on jobs in which hours can be long (hospital workers). These on-the-ground analyses reveal that lack of control over the time work ends (for retail workers this means working beyond the scheduled stop time and for hospital workers this means working overtime) is a dire source of caregiving conflict and work-to-family interference.
Together, this symposium brings a social work voice to research and discourse on workplace flexibility. The papers provide a rich picture of what schedule control looks like in today's hourly jobs and offers compelling evidence regarding which aspects of control may matter most to lower-level workers. The panel includes scholars who bridge social work and work-family scholarship and are part of the vanguard conducting research on work scheduling practices at the lower-end of the labor market. A discussant will consider implications for both research and policy, including new city and state scheduling laws that incorporate some provisions to increase workers' control over when and how much they work.