June 21, 2017

DeLauro and Warren Lead Members in Reintroducing Schedules That Work Act

Fact Sheet (PDF)
Bill Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led Members of Congress in reintroducing the Schedules That Work Act, legislation that would help ensure that low-wage employees have more certainty about their work schedules and income. Additional cosponsors include 72 House Members, along with Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

"Today, employers in sectors like the retail and service industries continue abusive practices like placing workers ‘on-call' with no guarantee of working, scheduling workers for ‘split shifts' of non-consecutive hours, sending workers home early without pay when demand is low, and punishing workers who request schedule changes," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "The Schedules That Work Act would help ensure that low-wage employees have more certainty about work schedules and income. Americans who work hard deserve certainty about their work schedules and we must do better for the employees across the country who are suffering from unstable scheduling practices."

"This bill is about basic fairness," said Senator Warren. "A single mom should know if her hours are being canceled before she arranges for daycare and drives halfway across town to show up at work. Someone who wants to go to school to get an education should not be able to get fired just for asking for a more predictable schedule. A worker who is told to wait around on-call for hours with no guarantee of work hours should get something for his time. It's time to end unfair scheduling practices that hurt workers and families."

Employees across the nation are forced to juggle the dual demands of home and work. However, too few workplaces provide work schedules that allow their employees to succeed at both. Research indicates that too many workers in low-wage service sector jobs, such as food service and retail, have work hours-and incomes-that vary from week to week or month to month. When the timing and amount of hours employees are scheduled to work change from week to week, it is nearly impossible to plan or budget. When workers have little or say in their schedules, it is difficult to arrange child care, participate in children's school activities, or get a leg up by going to school.

The Schedules That Work Act protects workers who ask for schedule changes from retaliation and requires employers to consider their requests.  For retail, food service, and cleaning occupations, it requires employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance. The legislation also provides a small amount of extra shift pay to these employees when their schedules are changed abruptly or they are assigned to particularly difficult shifts-including split shifts and call-in shifts. There is a growing consensus that workers need workplace protections from the abusive scheduling practices, with many cities and states considering similar legislation, and several cities, including New York City, enacting it.

"We need to build an economy that works for all families, but unfair scheduling practices keep workers guessing about when they'll be called in to work and without any guarantee of how much money they'll earn in a given week," said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "Too many workers today are facing uncertainty about whether they'll be able to pay their bills and support their families, and while President Trump continues to break promise after promise to workers, we will keep fighting to restore economic security and stability to more families."

"When workers lack a say in when they work, this makes it difficult to plan child care, elder care, and other responsibilities outside of work," Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. "We can protect workers from the most abusive scheduling practices that threaten their livelihoods and their families by passing the Schedules that Work Act. Employers are constantly counting on workers to increase their bottom lines and workers deliver-again and again. This bill will give workers more predictable and stable schedules and greater economic security. I am pleased to be joining my colleagues in introducing a bill that will help working people achieve a better balance between work and family."

"Working Americans are clamoring for a more sustainable workweek, one that lets them plan ahead and allows them to work hard and balance their time with their families. Working people are standing up for respect and stability," said Carrie Gleason, Director of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy. "We have won fair workweek laws in a slew of cities and the movement is only growing. We are proud to support Senator Warren and Representative DeLauro as they push to enact these policies nationwide through the Schedules that Work Act."

"When you don't know when you'll have to go to work or for how long, it's virtually impossible to arrange child care, hold down a second job to make ends meet, or attend school to improve your chance for success. Women, who are the majority of those in low-wage jobs and who shoulder the lion's share of family caregiving obligations, disproportionately bear the brunt of unstable, unpredictable work schedules. And the stress of these schedules harms entire families, including the children for whom working parents must scramble to find last-minute care," said Emily Martin, Vice-President for Workplace Justice at the National Women's Law Center. "The Schedules That Work Act would provide greater predictability and stability in the industries that need it most and give all working people a voice in their schedules. We urge Congress to pass this commonsense legislation and make the economy work better for everyone."

According to new data released from a new Center for Popular Democracy poll, three in four Americans support fair workweek policies. The poll also found that 67% of working Americans in hourly jobs are vulnerable to unstable, unpredictable work hours, with many of them reporting the following issues:  
·         27% have experienced a schedule change on the day of work: the employer makes mandatory changes to the employee's schedule on the day of his/her shift;
·         27% have experienced back-to-back shifts: the employer schedules the employee to work back-to-back closing and opening shifts with less than 11 hours between them;
·         31% have experienced a schedule change after it is posted: 
·         38% have experienced a change in hours: the employer changes the number of hours the  employee is scheduled to work from week to week; and
·         49% have experience limited hours: the employee would like to work more hours than he/she is usually scheduled to work in a week.