Hours of Work Distribution and Representation

In addition to the wage, there are a number of other characteristics that can be used to quantify the quality of a worker's job. One feature is whether a job is full-time or part-time. While the availability of part-time employment may be important to disabled workers (and perhaps more so than to nondisabled workers), part-time jobs are often accompanied by lower pay, fewer benefits, and less stability.1 The first part of this chapter compares and evaluates the incidence of part-time employment and type of part-time employment (voluntary versus involuntary) across disability status and across time. If disabled workers are considered marginal workers, then they would be more likely to be employed part-time. If, however, disabled part-time workers are more likely to be voluntarily, versus involuntarily, employed part-time, then their part-time status may indicate a greater flexibility that might be needed to accommodate the worker's situation. The chapter then explores the full-time wage premium earned by disabled and nondisabled workers. Disabled workers may not earn as great a premium for committing to a full-time schedule as nondisabled workers. Given the potentially higher fixed cost of accommodating the worker' s disability, the individual may have to commit to a greater number of hours before seeing the premium; this could show up in a lower premium at any given definition of part-time employment.2

A major characteristic of one' s job is its occupation or industry. A popular indicator of the quality of employment of a disadvantaged group is how well that group is represented in desirable occupations relative to some comparison group, and how the disadvantaged group's distribution across occupations compares with that of the comparison group. The occupation that a worker holds, or the industry in which someone works, can play an important role in that person's satisfaction and potential advancement in the labor market. Dual labor market theory suggests that some workers are relegated to undesirable (e.g., low-paying, dead-end) jobs from which they have virtually no escape.3

The second part of this chapter will explore the distribution of disabled workers across occupations and industries, relative to the distribution of nondisabled workers, as well as examine the representation of disabled workers in ''desirable'' jobs. The emphasis will be on how the relative distribution and representation have changed over time and whether the ADA seems to have played a role in their current determination.

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