Los Angeles Blade: Padilla cosponsors bill to ensure reliable schedules for workers
By Brody Levesque
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.-03) in introducing the Schedules That Work Act. This legislation would help ensure that employees have more certainty about their work schedules and income, an issue that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It addresses unstable, unpredictable, and rigid scheduling practices like placing workers “on-call” with no guarantee of work hours, scheduling them for “split shifts” of non-consecutive hours, sending workers home early without pay when demand is low, and punishing workers who request schedule changes.
“Every worker in the United States deserves to have a stable and predictable work schedule, yet for too many workers, irregular scheduling impedes their ability to plan their lives outside of work,” said Senator Padilla. “We must advance this long overdue legislation so that low-wage and hourly employees can work the hours they need without having to delay medical appointments, miss school, or worry about whether they can secure childcare.”
Few workplaces provide the stability and security workers need. Often, workers experience last-minute shift cancellations that deprive them of vital income and work “clopening” shifts that leave little time to commute and rest between shifts. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted workers’ need for consistent schedules in order to juggle the demands of work and home.
A newly released report found that unpredictable schedules lead to higher employee turnover, household economic insecurity, and reductions in workers’ health and wellbeing. It found that Black and Latina women are disproportionately impacted by unpredictable schedules and were more likely to have a shift canceled without appropriate notice than white workers.
The Schedules That Work Act curbs these harmful practices by giving workers a voice in their schedules and helping people meet their responsibilities at work and at home. This legislation protects workers who ask for schedule changes from retaliation, and it 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 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 also expands these same protections to hospitality and warehouse workers, who were essential to our communities throughout the pandemic, 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 Padilla is a strong advocate for improving working conditions and legal protections of workers in the United States. Senator Padilla recently sent a letter to urge the Biden Administration to make OSHA’s emergency COVID protections permanent for health care workers and has advocated for undocumented farmworkers’ rights to legal protections. He has also called on the Labor Department to establish federal heat standards to protect workers who are exposed to harsh conditions.
In the Senate, the bill is also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Bob Casey (D-Penn.).
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