By Mina Kim
and Lisa Pickoff-White
Unpredictable hours and low pay are just some of the challenges that face part-time employees in the modern U.S. workforce. About 7.5 million people nationwide say they're working part time only because their hours were cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. And the number of these "involuntary" part-time workers increased by 275,000 people in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
During the recession, these workers' numbers skyrocketed. Since then, things have improved, but there are still almost double the amount of involuntary part timers now as there were in 2007.
San Francisco recently passed an ordinance that lets employees ask for predictable work schedules without fear of retaliation. Last month President Obama ordered federal agencies to grant employees the right to request flexible schedules. Now East Bay congressman George Miller plans to introduce a bill that would extend those protections nationally, barring employers from denying workers' requests for time off because of caregiving or school-related conflicts, unless there is a provable business reason.