The Today Show recently did a segment based on a report by the Economic Policy Institute about irregular work hours and the damage it may cause kids of parents with these “on-call” arrangements. Even the New York Times ran a piece on the subject, The Perils of Ever-Changing Work Schedules Extend to Children’s Well-Being…
A growing body of research suggests that children’s language and problem-solving skills may suffer as a result of their parents’ problematic schedules, and that they may be more likely than other children to smoke and drink when they are older.
“Young children and adolescents of parents working unpredictable schedules or outside standard daytime working hours are more likely to have inferior cognitive and behavioral outcomes,” the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal advocacy group, said last week in a report.
Last year, two Democratic representatives introduced the Schedules That Work Act, which would require employers to give workers more say about their hours and provide them with incentives to encourage more stable schedules.
“We are all talking about this today,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, who is one of the bill’s lead sponsors. “Five years ago, it was an issue people would have brushed to the corner.” The bill has 69 co-sponsors; two Democrats also introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Among the needs that policy makers and activists working on the issue identify is finding stable, professional child care on a schedule that shifts from week to week.
“The arrangements families put together are usually ad hoc,” Ms. DeLauro said. “They have to rely on other family members, friends. If something breaks down in that chain, they have a problem.”
Wonder why a member of the party that likes to talk about family values didn’t bother to sponsor this legislation? Maybe their real priorities are elsewhere.