Padilla Cosponsors Legislation to Ensure Workers Have Reliable Work Schedules

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.).

The Schedules That Work Act is supported by: 9to5, A Better Balance, Action for Children, AFL-CIO, African American Health Alliance, All-Options, American Association of University Women, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, BreastfeedLA, Catch Fire Movement, CDF, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Popular Democracy, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Chicago Foundation for Women, Child Care Aware of America, Citizen Action of New York, Coalition for Social Justice, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Coalition on Human Needs, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Economic Policy Institute, Equal Rights Advocates, Every Texan, Faith in Public Life, Family Values @ Work, Healthy Nourishment,  Jobs With Justice, Justice for Migrant Women, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Legal Aid at Work, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, MANA – A National Latina Organization, MomsRising, National Black Worker Center, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, National Council of Jewish Women, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Network of Jewish Human, Service Agencies, North Carolina Justice Center, Oxfam America, Poligon Education Fund, Public Justice Center, ROC United, Service Employees International Union, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Start Early, Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice, TakeAction Minnesota, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, United for Respect, We All Rise, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest PA, Women Employed, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, Women’s Law Project, Women’s Media Center, Workplace Fairness, YWCA of the University of Illinois, YWCA USA, ZERO TO THREE.