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Mothers at work: Nonstandard-hour work schedules and childcare for low-income families

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Rachidi, Angela
Publication Date: 
22 Oct 2018

Key Points

  • Nonstandard-hour work schedules are necessary in today’s economy but can be challenging for parents who need childcare.
  • Research suggests that parents working nonstandard hours can negatively affect children, but questions remain about whether it is the work schedule itself or something else.
  • Using unique time-diary data on low-income mothers with young children, this report found that work schedule instability — meaning transitioning between standard- and nonstandard-hour schedules — was associated with childcare instability in ways that nonstandard-hour schedules alone were not, suggesting that work schedule instability might be more important than nonstandard hours in explaining child outcomes.
  • Policymakers should consider how the federal childcare subsidy program and tax policy can support parents who work nonstandard-hour schedules by limiting schedule and childcare instability.