October 17, 2019

Senator Warren and Representative DeLauro Announce Reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act

Legislation would provide greater certainty and stability to hourly and low-wage workers

Bill Text (PDF) | Fact Sheet (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, announced plans to reintroduce the Schedules That Work Act, legislation to help ensure that low-wage employees have more certainty about their work schedules and income.

"More than half of hourly workers, many of whom are workers of color, get their work schedules with less than a week's notice, making it nearly impossible for them to go back to school, maintain stable child care, and sometimes to pay the bills," said Senator Warren. "Congress should pass the Schedules that Work Act to empower these workers to regain control over their work schedules and to build some economic security for themselves and their families."

"The biggest economic challenge of our time is that people are working in jobs that do not pay them enough to keep up with the rising costs of healthcare, child care, housing, and education," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "That problem is compounded when working people do not have a voice in their schedules, which not only impacts them, but also their families. That is why I will be reintroducing the Schedules That Work Act with Senator Warren. Working people deserve to have dignity in their work and the ability to plan their lives, and our legislation will ensure that they do."

Workers need consistent schedules in order to juggle the demands of work and home, but far too few workplaces provide the consistency workers need. A newly released report found that unpredictable schedules can lead to burnout, overwork, and financial insecurity. It found that Black and Hispanic women are disproportionately impacted by unpredictable schedules and were more likely to have a shift canceled without appropriate notice than white workers.

Senator Warren and Representative DeLauro first introduced the Schedules That Work Act in 2015 and then again in 2017 to protect workers from this kind of instability. Their legislation protected workers who ask for schedule changes from retaliation, and it required employers to consider their requests. For retail, food service, and cleaning occupations, it required employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance. The legislation also provided compensation to these employees when their schedules change abruptly, or they are assigned to particularly difficult shifts, including split shifts and call-in shifts.

The bill Senator Warren and Representative DeLauro will introduce in the 116th Congress expands these same protections to hospitality and warehouse workers and establishes a right to rest between shifts -- protecting workers from being forced to work a closing shift one night and the opening shift the next day -- and compensating them adequately if they voluntarily do so. The bill also requires employers to compensate employees if schedules are not posted two weeks in advance, or if there are changes to the schedule within the two-week period.

Senator Warren has long been a staunch advocate for workers:

  • She is the lead author of the Accountable Capitalism Act, a bill that would give workers at the country's biggest companies more influence over decisions, by empowering workers to elect 40% of a corporation's board.
  • She used public pressure to enforce ethics rules at the National Labor Relations Board and expressed concern about the Labor Department's actions that would allow employers to cheat their workers.
  • Following a New York Times report that XPO Logistics and Verizon had failed to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, Senator Warren demanded an explanation. In response, the company announced a major new "pregnancy care policy," associated trainings, and new benefits including parental leave.