Wal-Mart just made another promise to employees, and it's a bigger deal than the raise

Wal-Mart made huge news Thursday by announcing that it’s raising its minimum wage to $US9 in 2015, and $US10 in 2016. 500,000 American workers are getting a raise.

But further down in the announcement, there was another change to company policy that’s could be just as big, if not bigger, for Walmart’s workers: fixed scheduling.

Here’s the infographic from Walmart:

If this applies to a significant chunk of Walmart workers (the language says “some associates” so it’s unclear), it could be huge.

The stress of low-wage work isn’t just about low pay, it’s also about having to be available 24/7 because companies use algorithms to perfectly match employee supply to customer demand. That’s meant that employees are expected to be on call all the time, and can’t necessarily count on a stable amount of money in their paycheck each week.

An NBC news feature from last year explains the problem:

When managers made schedules with a pen and paper, schedules tended to be fixed — making 11th hour shift changes was as much of a pain for a manager as it was for their workers. But now management functions have been turned over to software that’s designed to treat workers’ hours as a particularly free variable in a cash flow equation.

Fixed and reliable schedules, in addition to the bump in wages, are a huge win for Walmart workers.

The question, of course, is who are the “some associates” Wal-Mart will be doing this for?

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