Scheduling Uncertainty and Employment of Young Adults with Disabilities



This paper examines the prevalence of scheduling uncertainty and the degree of work hour volatility among young adults with disabilities from 2008 through 2018, using data from the Current Population Survey and the National Longitudinal Youth Survey.  First, the paper documents the magnitude of several features of irregular schedules among workers with disabilities in recent years.  Second, it examines differences in irregular schedules between workers with and without disabilities.  Third, it describes the trends in these features over the past decade.  A key limitation of the study is that it cannot directly measure whether workers are employed in gig jobs.

The paper found that:

  • Young adults with disabilities are more likely to report having irregular work schedules and experience higher volatility in month-to-month work hours compared to their peers without disabilities.
  • The percentages of youth who report varying work hours or irregular schedules have decreased slightly over the past decade.
  • Trends in work hour volatility have remained stable over the past decade for youth with and without disabilities.

The policy implications of the findings are:

  • The increased availability of gig jobs in recent years might make it easier for adults with disabilities to work. To the extent this is true, an increase in gig jobs could lead to higher employment rates among workers with disabilities.
  • However, the day-to-day unpredictability in these jobs could present different challenges, especially for workers who need accommodations.
  • Although the results in this study do not provide evidence of increased hours volatility on average across workers, future research with improved data on job categorization could explore more directly the potential benefits and risks of gig economy jobs for people with disabilities.

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