Stable Schedules Study to Promote Low-Income Worker Health and Well-Being

Project Summary

This is the only experimental study to examine the health and well-being effects of a shift to more stable schedules for hourly workers. The project team conducted a natural experiment to evaluate the health effects of targeted efforts to change employer scheduling practices that provide hourly workers with greater schedule stability, predictability, adequacy, and control.

Research Question(s)

  • How are schedule stability, predictability, control, and adequacy related to employee health and work-life conflict, controlling for relevant store and individual characteristics?
  • Did the Stable Schedules Study (SSS) intervention improve the health and well-being of hourly Gap employees?


  • Inform policymakers and businesses on whether and how stable scheduling and similar initiatives impact health, wellbeing, and other outcomes of low-income hourly retail workers, with the potential to reduce health disparities.


Worker experiences before intervention implementation:

  • 47% of workers reported that their work schedule interfered with their sleep.
  • 51% of workers reported at least moderate food insecurity in the past month.
  • 26% were late on utility payments in the past three months.
  • 19% delayed going to the doctor or getting prescriptions filled because of financial concerns in the past three months.

Effects of the intervention: 

  • Self-rated sleep quality improved by 6-8% on average as a result of the intervention.
  • The effects of the intervention on other health outcomes vary by subgroup. For example, the intervention reduced stress among parents and workers holding a second job.


Health: general health, perceived stress, psychosomatic health, psychological states of mind, schedule interferences in health, food insecurity

Other: general work-life conflict, financial hardship, supervisor support


The investigators used a cross-sectional regression model to estimate whether there were significant differences in the health status of different classes of employees such as full-time/part-time and seniority. A generalized linear mixed model approach was used where the two time waves (baseline and post-intervention) were nested within store employees who were nested within the treatment and control stores.

woman at laptop with another woman in background looking at clothes on a rack
Grantee and Partner organizations

UC Hastings Foundation
University of Chicago

Grant status
Principal investigators
Joan Williams, JD
Susan Lambert, PhD
Saravanan Kesavan, DBA
Start date
Award amount
18 months

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