Workers, Legislators Support Bill to Modernize Workplace Scheduling Laws

Unpredictable Scheduling Practices Hurting Minnesota Working Families and the Economy

St. Paul – Looking to ensure workers have a voice in how much and when they work, a coalition of worker advocacy groups, social justice organizations, labor unions and workers joined together with Rep. Rena Moran today to introduce the Fair Scheduling Legislation.

The legislation, designed to bring Minnesota’s workplace scheduling laws into the 21st century, would require employers to provide employees with adequate notice of their work schedules and provide employees with compensation when a regular or on-call shift is cancelled within 24-hours.

With the advent of “just-in-time” labor practices, store managers often use computer algorithms of real-time sales data to build work schedules, allowing employers to call in staff on a moment’s notice or cancel shifts if business tapers off. However, this leaves workers, often women and people of color, holding the bag -- scrambling to piece together child care and family care coverage, school schedules, and other basic activities of everyday life.

“Unpredictable hours make economic mobility and achieving the American Dream even harder, especially if you’re already struggling to get by,” said Bree Halverson, Working America Minnesota State Director. “Minnesota families need 21st-century scheduling policies that keep up with the changing nature of today’s workplace.”
The legislation would:
• Give employees 21 days’ notice of their work schedule
• Provide compensation for workers if their shift is cancelled within 24 hours
• Guarantee employees adequate daily rest by requiring workers to consent to work with less than 11 hours rest between work shifts.

According to recent academic research, 56 percent of men and 61 percent of women in the workforce are paid by the hour, many in industries like retail and food service.

Researchers from the University of Chicago recently found 41 percent of hourly workers learn their schedules less than a week in advance. Half of hourly workers have no control over their schedules. Among the 74 percent of workers who report weekly fluctuations in hours, average hours varied by 49 percent of their “usual” weekly hours. A 10-hour week can follow a 30-hour week.

“Far too many Minnesotans face unpredictable, fluctuating work hours with employers that expect them to be at-the-ready and on-call 24/7,” said Steve Hunter, MN AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer.

"Unless you get a chance to recharge, you can't be at the top of your game. A new law would allow me more flexibility with school--my grades would probably be better. I could perform better in my personal life. I'd be a happier person. Period." Jeremy Little, Minneapolis member of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.

“The new on-call policy from our company, Delta sub-contracter AirServ, has cut our hours and made life incredibly difficult for families like mine at the airport," said Ronda Jama, a wheelchair agent who lives in Minneapolis. "When we don't know until the day of whether we will work, it throws our families into chaos. We are fighting for our union to change this, and airport workers are proud to support this campaign to win these basic rights for workers across the state."

"Retail workers' lives are at the mercy of their work schedule. My story has a good ending, my store did the right thing and changed the policy so workers have adequate rest between shifts, but it highlights the vulnerability of other retail workers. For workers that have a child like I do, scheduling impacts more than just the individual worker, it also affects our families that depend on us," said Andy Barno-Iversen, a member of Working America.

“This bill is an important step toward bringing more freedom and stability to employees who work hard, receive an hourly wage, and need to plan for their futures and the futures of their families,” said Rep. Moran. “Having a little bit of stability and predictability in the hours you work can go a long way toward improving many other parts of day to day life.”

Contact:

Bree Halverson
Working America MN State Director
612-803-3458