Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released a new policy proposal Tuesday that aims to help part-time employees have more predictable work schedules.
It seeks to require employers with 15 or more employees to give two weeks of advance notice of work schedules. Workers would then be compensated for changes within that window of time and have the right to decline work hours that were not originally listed.
Warren says her plan builds on so-called “Fair Workweek” laws that have already been implemented in several major cities across the country. It's part of Warren’s effort to portray herself as fighting for families and not corporations.
“For far too long, companies trying to boost their profits have taken advantage of part-time workers by assigning them unpredictable work schedules – creating real hardships for them,” Warren said in a statement Tuesday.
In the last few years, cities like San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia have all passed "Fair Workweek" laws – legislation that aims to make schedules more predictable for shift workers. Warren says her plan “builds on the work of these committed advocates and activists and ensures that every part-time worker in America is treated with respect.”
Warren's proposal also incorporates protections from the “Schedules That Work Act," a bill first introduced by Warren and Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro in 2015. The legislation requires employers to consider in good faith their workers’ scheduling requests. It also guarantees workers the right to rest between shifts – mandating that employers give workers 11 hours between shifts, or else compensating them with higher pay for hours voluntarily worked within that window.
UFCW, the largest U.S. private-sector union, expressed support for the proposal.
“Multi-billion dollar retail companies force millions of Americans into part-time jobs – jobs that guarantee they will struggle to make ends meet,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said. “Far too many of these workers are paid low wages, cannot access family leave or contribute to a pension, and are losing extra hours to outside contractors. This is wrong and it must end now."
Many of the candidates in the 2020 Democratic primary have released their own proposals they claim would put more power in the hands of workers, though Warren’s campaign claims she is the first one to propose these specific changes for part-time workers, benefiting up to 27 million people across the country. Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris have previously co-sponsored the “Schedules That Work Act.”
Warren’s Fair Workweek proposal as a 2020 Democratic contender coincides with legislation she is introducing Tuesday with Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky called the “Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act.” Schakowsky, a 10-term Democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois, recently endorsed Warren before a town hall in Chicago.