Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Views & Analysis

August 28, 2014

The Schedules That Work Act

Involuntary part-time work. Unpredictable schedules. Fear of employer retaliation for taking time away to care for a sick child. These are all incompatible with reproductive justice, and yet this describes the current employment situation for many low-income workers. This is particularly true for women, since women are still disproportionately the primary caregivers, while also acting as the primary breadwinner in 40% of families. Moreover, women in the LGBT community are especially victimized by laws and policies that fail to recognize their relationships to their partners and children, creating heightened fear of asking for time off for a schedule change.

Recent (and not-so-recent) heartbreaking stories describe the difficulty of balancing an unpredictable schedule with caring for a child or sick family member, and the hardship of involuntary part-time work that can make it impossible to maintain housing or know if there will be enough money for groceries from week to week.

Some workers get two days notice of their schedule—some only get hours, or are always on call. Many do this without the benefits of full-time pay or other safeguards that come from a full-time position. Meanwhile, some workers fear retaliation for asking for time away to care for a child, an ailing family member, or for themselves. It’s time for Congress to change that.

That’s why NCLR supports the Schedules That Work Act, a bill based on successful efforts of this kind in Vermont, San Francisco, and the United Kingdom. This Act would give employees a right to make scheduling requests while protecting them from retaliation for simply making a request. It would also require employers to provide restaurant, retail, and building cleaning employees with reporting time pay, split shift pay, and advance notification of work schedules, giving employees more security and more advance notice to be able to take care of childcare requirements and bills.

Please contact your Congressperson today, and ask them to support this important legislation.

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