Decline Seen in Employees Who Use Flex-Time

July 6, 2005 ( - Twenty seven million employees (27.5%) reported working on a flexible schedule in 2004, down from 29 million (28.6%) in 2001, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The news release was issued as a supplement to the May 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted monthly by the BLS. The information in the release was based on workers who worked full time (35 hours per week or more) on their main job, and concerned flexible schedules and shift work.

Flex-time gained popularity in the 1990’s, data in the release shows. The percentage of workers with a flexible schedule in 1991 was 15%. That figure jumped to 27.6% in 1997. Although around one fourth of workers report being able to work a flexible schedule, only about 10% are actually enrolled in a formal flex-time work arrangement.

Almost 37% of those who work flex-time are in management or professional occupations, while those in production, transportation, and material moving have the least flexible schedules (14.3%). Men are more likely to work flexible schedules than women (28.1% vs. 26.7%), and white employees (28.7%) more likely work flex-time than other races (27.4%-Asian, 19.7%-African American, and 18.4%-Latino).

Only about 15% of employees report working a shift other than daytime, with most of those (50.6%) in the protective service field, such as police officers, firefighters, and guards. Management and professional occupations were the least likely (7.6%) to work an alternate shift. Most reported working an alternate shift because it was the “nature of the job” (54.6%). Around 8% said it provided better arrangements for childcare, and another 8% said they could not get any other job.

-Rebecca Moore