Press Release Inequality Jobs United States Workers

LGBTQ+ Workers Especially Burdened by Unpredictable Work Hours, Unstable Incomes

June 27, 2022

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington — Unpredictable work schedules and sudden changes in work hours are commonplace in service sector jobs like restaurant servers, housekeepers, and retail sales associates. A new analysis by CEPR reveals that workers who identify as LGBTQ+ are overrepresented in service sector jobs and are particularly burdened by changing schedules and work hours that impact incomes.

Co-authors of the analysis, researcher Annabel Utz and economist Julie Cai, find that even though workplace data on self-identified LGBTQ+ workers is underdeveloped, it is clear that these workers are overrepresented in service sector jobs and are more likely than non-LGBTQ+ workers to have employer-driven unstable work hours.

About 18 percent of LGBTQ+ workers experience work-hour instability (10 percentage points higher than their non-LGBTQ+ peers), and nearly one-third of those report their schedules vary at their employer’s request. Reduced hours for hourly workers in the service sector can mean reduced earnings and uncertainty about managing recurring expenses. 

The authors cite cities and a state with fair workweek laws to address work hour and schedule instability. These laws require employers to give workers advance notice of schedule changes, transparency about scheduling for new hires, and the right to provide input into their work schedules, among other provisions. However, no matter what state or city, unionized workers have more input into the number of hours worked and get more advance notice of work schedules.

The authors call on policy makers to address work schedule uncertainty and to include members of LGBTQ+ communities in key federal employment surveys to better understand their economic and workplace issues. 

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