The most recent survey appearing in the Wire says that four out of five drycleaners (82.2%) work overtime — and many use “personal” time on nights, weekends and holidays to catch up on their work.
More than a third (37.8%) of survey respondents say they work 55 to 65 hours per week — 15 to 25 hours more than the standard workweek. One in five operators (20%) works more than 65 hours per week, and 24.4% work 45 to 55 hours a week. Only 15.6% of drycleaners work 35 to 45 hours per week, and 2.2% work less than 35 hours.
Three-quarters (76.7%) reported working weekends and two-thirds (67.4%) work nights, perhaps as a result of longer open hours. But drycleaners also use “personal” time to work more: Half (51.2%) work on their days off, 44.2% work on holidays, and 39.5% use “family” time to perform work-related tasks.
“I don’t really have a lot of ‘personal’ time,” says one respondent. Another says that since the business itself is a personal one, it demands lots of time. “To get to know each and every [customer] takes time,” he says. “There come the hours — about 84 a week. Is it hard? Very. Is it rewarding? Very. Would I change it? No.”