With unstable schedules, fluctuating paychecks, and difficulty getting on the schedule often enough, hourly workers are hard-pressed to save anything, even for an emergency. A new report by Branch, a mobile platform for hourly workers, found that 40% of all respondents said they had nothing saved up for an emergency, while 75% of respondents reported having less than $500 saved for their emergency fund.
The report surveyed 3,000 hourly workers in the food service, retail, and healthcare industries.
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One factor that contributes to the inability to save was erratic scheduling – nearly 80% of the hourly workers surveyed experience some degree of pay variance from week to week, meaning they can’t count on getting paid a similar amount each pay period. Over half (57%) of hourly workers said a stable and predictable schedule is very important to them.
It’s also difficult for an hourly worker to work as much as they want to. Only about half (50%) said they were scheduled for the number of hours they would like to work. Over 40% of workers said they’d like to work more hours.
“Because earnings are directly tied to the number of hours worked, unstable, unpredictable hours can undermine financial security for workers of all ages,” said Dr. Susan Lambert, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Basic living costs such as rent/mortgage (58%) utilities (47%) and groceries (42%) were their main financial concerns.
As for housing arrangements, over a quarter (27%) lived with family and friends for free, while 16.5% contributed to a mortgage. The rest paid rent.
Still, the workers surveyed were loyal to their companies – they were twice as interested in using their experience to get a promotion at their current employer (32%) instead of switching jobs (16%).