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Growing part-time employment among workers with disabilities: marginalization or opportunity?

  • Julie Hotchkiss

Even though part-time jobs offer lower pay, fewer benefits, and less stability, voluntary part-time employment among disabled workers has increased over the past twenty years even as part-time work has declined among nondisabled workers. Does this trend signal that part-time work has become more attractive to disabled workers, or does it mean that disabled workers are being pushed to the fringe in the workforce? ; This article attempts to answer these questions by looking at the part-time employment experience of disabled workers since 1984. Using data from the Current Population Survey, the author first examines how the incidence and nature of part-time jobs among workers with disabilities have changed over time compared with the experiences of nondisabled workers. Second, she analyzes U.S. Labor Department job descriptions for a broad range of occupations to see how the qualitative nature of jobs has changed over time. ; Her analysis indicates that disabled workers are not being marginalized and are finding part-time employment more attractive. One explanation for the latter finding is that employers are increasingly accommodating the needs of disabled workers, offering them part-time jobs that would be available only on a full-time basis to nondisabled workers. Since the data show that the quality of part-time jobs held by disabled workers has not become relatively more attractive, a second, more likely explanation is that policy changes such as extended Medicaid and more generous Social Security Disability Insurance benefits have made part-time employment more financially attractive to disabled workers.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2004)
Issue (Month): Q 3 ()
Pages: 25-40

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2004:i:q3:p:25-40:n:v.89no.3
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