Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

The Effects of the Emeryville Fair Workweek Ordinance on the Daily Lives of Low-Wage Workers and their Families

Anna Gassman-Pines, Associate Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University

05/17/2019
12:30-1:30 PM PT
121 Raitt Hall

Emeryville, CA implemented a Fair Workweek Ordinance (FWO) in 2017, which aimed to reduce serve workers’ schedule unpredictability by requiring large retail and food service employers to provide advanced notice of schedules and to compensate workers for last-minute schedule changes. From a sample of working parents with young children (N = 96; 50% working in regulated businesses), this study gathered daily reports of work schedule unpredictability and worker and family well-being over three waves: one prior to the implementation of the FWO, one during the early “soft launch” of the FWO, and one during the FWO’s full implementation. Results show that the FWO succeeded in decreasing schedule unpredictability that working parents experience and improved parents’ well-being. In particular, the FWO reduced instances of unexpected changes in work hours and in last-minute work-schedule changes. However, results also show that the FWO decreased parents’ average weekly work hours. This study provides the first evidence on the effect of a secure schedule policy, a new type of labor policy being implemented or considered in cities across the country, on working parents.


Anna Gassman-Pines is Associate Professor of public policy and psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. She is also Faculty Affiliate of Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy. Gassman-Pines received her BA with distinction in Psychology from Yale University and PhD in Community and Developmental Psychology from New York University. Her research focuses on low-wage work, family life and the effects of welfare and employment policy on child and maternal well-being in low-income families. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, American Psychological Association, National Head Start Association, and National Institute of Mental Health, and various private foundations.

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