Vocational Insights
June 2013

Not so long ago, when employment and divorce attorneys calculated earning capacity, it was fair to assume that a person could get a job - any job - to help make ends meet.  One example of erroneous assumptions is that, at the very least, plenty of retail jobs were always available. This earning capacity assumption could reduce a spouse's alimony payments and employers' damages. But relying on retail employment doesn't stand up any more -- here's why.
Part Time Employment, Full Time Commitment

The truth is the economy has changed drastically in the past decade. Retail hiring and scheduling practices have permanently altered. A recent New York Times Article reveals just how much the industry has changed, and it's not good for most workers.

Retail companies today want part time employees, but full time commitment. Week-by-week, and even on-they-fly, scheduling is the norm as managers respond to business fluctuations. They rarely offer full time work, sometimes scheduling shifts as short as two hours.  Even as the industry grows more hostile to worker's needs, the expectation is complete availability. Turn a shift down once, and you likely won't be called again.

Benefits are a pipe dream for most retail employees, and wages hover well below $12 per hour. These changes are especially pronounced at the largest companies, the same employers we once depended on as stalwart job providers.

The Retail Job Myth: "Just Get a Job" Is Not Realistic

As this kind of flexibility becomes a standard expectation, it presents very difficult challenges to plan for childcare, a second job, college courses, or interviews for the "right" job.

Many earning capacity decisions still rely on this retail job myth. This is just one example of how vocational evaluations must consider changes in the labor market.  Vocational experts can confirm if the attorneys "old" assumptions apply when considering employment options that will limit financial impacts on their clients.
Wexler Consulting provides expert, data driven, earning capacity and employability assessments and testimony for divorce and employment law cases. Call now to learn more about how to apply my expertise to your case.

Rona E. Wexler, M.A., ABVE/DR
Diplomate, American Board of Vocational Experts 
Wexler Vocational and Career Services
Rona headshot
Rona E. Wexler

Certified Diplomate,
American Board of Vocational Experts

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