More than 27 million full-time wage and salary workers had flexible work schedules
that allowed them to vary the time they began or ended
work in 2004, comprising 27.5 percent of all full-time wage and salary
workers, down from 28.6 percent in May 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The proportion who usually worked a shift other than a daytime schedule
(14.8 percent) remained close to the 2001 level.
In May 2004, men continued to be somewhat more likely to have flexible schedules
than women (28.1 and 26.7 percent, respectively). Among the major occupational
groups, flexible schedules were most common among management, professional,
and related occupations (36.8 percent).
Within that occupational group, 44.7 percent of management, business, and financial
operations workers were able to vary their work hours.
Flexible schedules also were prevalent among sales and office workers (29.5
Among private sector employees, industries with a relatively high prevalence
of workers with flexible schedules included financial activities (37.7 percent),
professional and business services (37.6 percent), and information (34.9 percent).
Industries with a relatively low prevalence of workers on flexible schedules
included mining (22.9 percent) and construction (20.3 percent).
Formal Flextime Programs
Although more than 1 in 4 workers can work a flexible schedule, only about
1 in 10 are enrolled in a formal, employer-sponsored flextime program. Workers
in management, professional, and related occupations were among the most likely
to have a formal flextime program (14.2 percent).
Almost 15 percent of full-time wage and salary workers usually worked an alternative
shift in May 2004. By type of shift, 4.7 percent of the total worked evening
shifts, 3.2 percent worked night shifts, 3.1 percent worked employer-arranged
irregular schedules, and 2.5 percent worked rotating shifts. The proportion
of full-time wage and salary workers on alternative schedules has fallen since
Over half (54.6 percent) of those working an alternative shift did so
because it was the "nature of the job." Other reasons for working
a non-daytime schedule included "personal preference" (11.5 percent),
"better arrangements for family or child care" (8.2 percent), "could
not get any other job" (8.1 percent), and "better pay" (6.8 percent).
Many of those who worked night and evening shifts chose such schedules due
to personal preference (21.0 and 15.9 percent, respectively) or because these
shifts facilitated better arrangements for family or child care (15.9 and 11.0
percent, respectively). The vast majority of those with rotating, split, and
employer-arranged irregular schedules reported the "nature of the job"
as the reason for working a non-daytime schedule.