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What Do High-Paid and Low-Paid Workers Have in Common? Weekends at Work

New federal data released this morning show that the people most likely to be at work on a weekend are those who make the most money and those who make the least. Workers who fall in the middle of the income range are more likely to stay home.

Among workers with just one job, the group most likely to work on a typical weekend day or holiday, at 34.4 percent, were those who make $520 or less a week, or less than $28,000 per year, the lowest income quartile defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest American Time Use Survey. For people who earn a little more, the percentage drops sharply, to 23.5 percent. Then it climbs again, to 29.7 percent, and higher still for those earning more than $1,340 per week.

If America’s worst-paid and best-paid employees are equally likely to be in the office on any given Saturday, they’re not working the same hours. Among those working on an average weekend or holiday, workers in the top bracket are putting in the fewest average hours per person: 3.77 a day. Those at the bottom are working, on average, a hair more than 7 hours, almost twice as much. Those with in-between incomes are working in-between hours.

It’s also true that those top and bottom-earners are likely working weekends for quite different reasons. In addition to making more money, workers in the top bracket presumably get better perks and greater freedoms than those in the middle. Chances are, workers in the bottom bracket can’t afford to pass up an extra weekend or holiday shift or a job that requires Saturdays or Sundays.

Eidelson is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington.

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