Do you have to work on Thanksgiving?
For some retail, restaurant, and fast food workers, the answer to that question could still be: “I don’t know.”
Half of low-wage workers say they have little or no say over the hours they are scheduled to work. 20-30% are in jobs where they can be called into work at the last minute. Others might think they’ll be working four hours – and getting paid for four hours – then are sent home after one or two because there aren’t enough customers.
Think about how much of a challenge it is to plan for anything – childcare, doctors’ visits, parent-teacher conferences, classes – without knowing when you’ll be working next week.
That’s why I’ve introduced the Schedules That Work Act to cut back some of the most rigid, unstable, and unpredictable scheduling practices. Please join me this Thanksgiving week to tell Congress that America’s workers need Schedules that Work.
Look, I get it. Sometimes employers need flexibility – and the bill allows for that. But routinely placing workers on-call with no guarantee of work, sending workers home early without pay, and punishing workers who request schedule changes all hurt working families.
There’s lots of talk about personal responsibility. But how does someone who depends on every paycheck plan a budget when her work hours can fluctuate 40-70% from week to week? How does a mother arrange for childcare if she doesn’t know if she’s working Thursday or Saturday or Monday? And how does anyone get ahead – going back to school to qualify for a better job or getting a second job to close the gap – if they don’t know when they will be available?
The Schedules that Work Act is about basic fairness:
- A single mom should know if her hours are being canceled before she arranges for daycare and drives halfway across town to show up to work.
- Someone who wants to go to school to get an education should be able to ask for a more predictable schedule without getting fired just for asking.
- A worker who is told to wait around on-call for hours with no guarantee of work hours should get something for his time.
Workers have always had to fight for a level playing field every step of the way. A minimum wage. Basic workplace safety. A 40-hour workweek. Now it’s time to fight again for some basic fairness in scheduling.