Leading the Fight for Hours

Across the country, working people on the frontlines of the service economy are leading the fight for a fair workweek. From Oregon to New York City, Seattle to Washington, D.C., working people are coming together to make sure that we have hours we can count on to care for our families. Elected officials on the city, state, and federal level are responding to this growing movement for reliable hours with robust policy solutions.

Too many of us are either saddled with workweeks that never end or are working too few hours to make ends meet. Without enough say into our work hours, we juggle the demand for constant availability and work schedules that change unpredictably. Whether just scraping by hour-by-hour or hardly getting a good night’s sleep, the scheduling crisis has reached a breaking point.

We want jobs that build towards a prosperous future – but our employers have been taking us in the wrong direction. Rather than treating employees as a resource for success, too many businesses view their staff as a cost to be contained or as an asset to be squeezed for limitless productivity, with no regard for our home lives or our personal aspirations.

Instead of using modern technology to deliver schedules that allow us to care for our families and meet business needs, corporations are playing games with working families’ time, and forcing moms and students to scramble with increasingly uncertain work schedules, particularly in the growing service sector.

Working people have the potential to drive the long-term growth of our economy, but scheduling practices are getting in the way. We all need a workweek we can count on – one that allows all of us to care for our families, stay healthy, and get ahead. That’s why working people across the country are coming together to restore a fair workweek in our workplaces and communities.

The Fair Workweek Initiative, anchored by United for Respect and the Center for Popular Democracy, is driving the growing momentum to restore a workweek that enables working families to thrive. Over 1.8 million working people now can count on a fair workweek through new laws won in 7 cities and two states. Now Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington could be next.

Fair Workweek policies ensure that working people have stable and predictable work hours, more opportunities to work full-time, healthier schedules with adequate rest, and a fair voice in when and how much they work. These basic standards can be reached by establishing modern work-hours policy including:

Predictable Schedules – that our families can count on.
  • Ensures work schedules at least two weeks in advance, pay for on-call or cancelled shifts, predictability pay for employer’s changing scheduling needs, the right to decline extra hours added with short-notice, and estimated weekly hours.
Opportunity to Work  – enough hours for a livable paycheck.
  • Ensures that existing part-time employees have a chance to pick up newly available hours before their employer hires additional staff.
Healthy Schedules –  for time to sleep, commute, and care for ourselves and our families.
  • Ensures 11 hours of rest between shifts with the right to decline or overtime pay for working shifts with less rest to allow
Flexibility – to be there for our families.
  • Ensures working people can have flexibility and make scheduling requests to adjust their availability without fear of termination, reduction in hours, or other retaliation.

We're winning all across the country

In partnership with the Center for Popular Democracy and our partner organizations, we’ve already won a fair workweek in several cities and states across the country.

In August 2017, Oregon became the first state in the country to guarantee scheduling protections. The state now requires employers to provide more advanced notice of schedule changes and protects working people from retaliation when requesting schedule accommodation. These protections cover 172,000 people working in food service, hospitality, and retail.
New York City
In November 2017, New York City’s fair workweek law went into effect. The law covers 327,000 working people in the city’s retail and food service sectors, providing more stable schedules and ending mandatory on-call scheduling.
Emeryville, California's fair workweek bill went into effect at the beginning of 2018. The law provides working people with protections against retaliation and guarantees the right to rest in between shifts, among other protections.
In early 2019, Philadelphia became the second largest US city to adopt a fair workweek policy. The law provides more than 130,000 of the city’s working people with more predictable schedules and compensation for last-minute schedule changes.