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Fragile Synchronicities: Families, Mobility, Work Scheduling and Precarious Employment

130 1 Hour
Growing numbers of Canadian workers are precariously employed. Precarity is associated with employment in changing worksites and with variable work schedules. Journeys-to-work are also becoming longer and more complex.

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Research on work-family balance and on precarious employment pays limited attention to mobility. This webinar will: (1) present key findings from a program of research on employment-related mobility in the Canadian context including its association with precarious employment and particular kinds of work scheduling; (2) explore ways mobility, work scheduling and precarious employment interact to affect the family lives of workers; and (3) discuss what unions, employers and government are and could be doing to help synchronize the rhythms of home, travel and working lives.

Take-home Messages

  • Workers and their families make substantial investments of time and other resources in efforts to synchronize the rhythms of family life with those of complex/lengthy commutes and the often non-standard work hours and changing/multiple work locations associated with precarious employment.
  • Shift scheduling that does not take these challenges into account has the potential to disrupt family lives and the ability of some workers to remain at or advance in their workplaces.
  • Employer programs to address the challenges of work-related mobility for workers and their families tend to focus on resources to help workers respond to problems once they arise rather than preventing them in the first place.
  • There is a “duty to accommodate” family status in Canadian and provincial human rights acts but it remains unclear how mobility specifically converges with human rights code recommendations around this duty.

Learning Outcomes

About the many types of Canadian occupations associated with extended mobility to and within precarious employment
How work-related mobility and work scheduling can intersect to affect employee diversity and the incomes, experiences, safety and options of workers and their family members
The potential consequences of mobility and non-standard work scheduling for family well-being
Potential strategies for going beyond employee assistance programs and improved wages to help workers and their families synchronize family, mobility and work scheduling rhythms

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