Uncertainty over Working Schedules and Compensating Wage Differentials: From the viewpoint of labor management

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki (Vice President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2018 18-E-015
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While long working hours have attracted the attention of researchers and policymakers, studies on uncertainty over working schedules have been scarce. Using data from an originally conducted survey, this study presents empirical evidence on working schedule uncertainty in Japan. In terms of results, first, about 50% of workers have experienced unpredictable overtime work, and about 30% are occasionally forced to cancel scheduled holidays due to sudden work issues. The uncertainty over working schedules is prevalent among full-time regular employees and those working long hours. Second, the subjective cost of uncertain working schedules is large, namely, more than 150% of predicted overtime hours for the same amount of unpredictable overtime work. Third, the negative effect of uncertain working schedules on job satisfaction is far greater than that of an increase in the total amount of working hours or wage decrease. Finally, although some wage premium compensation for uncertain working schedules is observed, its size is relatively small.

This is the English version of the Japanese Discussion Paper (18-J-008) with some additional information and changes.