February 10, 2022
Pressley, Schakowsky, DeLauro, Warren, Colleagues Introduce Legislation To Protect Part-Time Workers
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D- Conn.), United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA), today to announce the introduction of the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act, legislation to strengthen protections for part-time workers and allow them to better balance their work schedules with personal and family needs. The legislation will address one of the primary issues that hourly workers face – work schedules that do not provide as many hours as they need to support their families – and provide additional protections and benefits for part-time workers.
“All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and have equal access to livable wages, benefits and opportunities to advance in the workplace,” said Rep. Pressley. “Unfortunately, millions of part-time workers—disproportionately Black and brown women—continue to face lower wages, unpredictable schedules and lack access to critical benefits and workplace protections. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act to help right these wrongs and support the economic security of part-time workers.”
“The vast majority of part-time workers across the country face volatile work hours, unstable incomes, low wages, and few opportunities to advance in the workplace. They deserve better. Today, I introduced the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act with my colleagues Representatives DeLauro, Lee, Pressley, and Porter to ensure equitable workplace treatment for part-time workers. This legislation requires employers to treat part-time and full-time employees equitably in wages, benefits, and promotions. It gives part-time workers access to stable hours, pension plans, and family and medical leave. We must improve the quality of part-time work to ensure the economic security of the more than one in five American workers who work part-time,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.
“All workers deserve to make enough to build futures for themselves and their families, but giant companies try to skimp on wages and benefits by exploiting part-time workers rather than hiring full-time staff. Congress should pass the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights to put an end to exploitative business practices that put corporate profits over people,” Senator Warren said.
“Part-time workers are essential to our economy,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Yet, far too often, these workers are at a disadvantage when it comes to the stability and opportunities that are afforded to full-time employees. The Part Time Workers Bill of Rights Act provides part-time workers with the peace of mind they so rightly deserve by ensuring they have access to additional hours and receive benefits like Family and Medical Leave which we know is crucial to the wellbeing of our workers. I applaud Congresswoman Schakowsky and Senator Warren for their leadership on this issue and am committed to ensuring part-time workers have the tools they need to provide for themselves and their families.”
“Unpredictable and unstable work schedules cause unneeded stress for millions of part time workers. This deliberate effort to boost profits makes it nearly impossible for many workers to balance their jobs with their families and personal lives,” said Congresswoman Lee. “I am proud to introduce the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act with Representatives Schakowsky, DeLauro, Pressley, and Porter. Large employers must fix these unpredictable and insufficient schedules, and show that they value their part-time workers.”
“A strong workforce is essential for a healthy and stable economy,” Representative Porter said. “Too many big corporations are getting away with deliberately under-employing their workers, boosting their bottom line at the expense of American families. Our Part Time Worker Bill of Rights cracks down on this corporate abuse by closing a loophole that allows big businesses to profit off giving some workers lower wages and fewer benefits.”
Corporations often use underemployment, giving part-time workers fewer hours than they want and spreading work among many part-time employees rather than hiring full-time employees, as an intentional strategy to avoid providing benefits and paying higher wages in order to boost short-term profits.
The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act would:
- Require large employers to offer available hours to current, available, qualified part-time employees before hiring new employees or subcontractors. The legislation requires employers with more than 500 workers to compensate existing employees if they hire new employees instead of assigning new work to available, qualified, existing employees.
- Make more part-time employees eligible for family and medical leave. The legislation guarantees any employee who has worked for their employer for at least a year access to federal leave protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Allow part-time workers to participate in their employers’ pension plans. The legislation amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to give part-time workers who have worked at least 500 hours for two consecutive years access to retirement plans if they are offered by their employers to full-time workers.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act is supported by: 9to5, A Better Balance, Action for Children, AFL-CIO, African American Health Alliance, All-Options, American Association of University Women, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, BreastfeedLA, Catch Fire Movement, CDF, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Popular Democracy, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Chicago Foundation for Women, Child Care Aware of America, Citizen Action of New York, Coalition for Social Justice, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Coalition on Human Needs, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Economic Policy Institute, Equal Rights Advocates, Every Texan, Faith in Public Life, Family Values @ Work, Healthy Nourishment, Jobs With Justice, Justice for Migrant Women, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Legal Aid at Work, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, MANA – A National Latina Organization, MomsRising, National Black Worker Center, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, National Council of Jewish Women, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Network of Jewish Human, Service Agencies, North Carolina Justice Center, Oxfam America, Poligon Education Fund, Public Justice Center, ROC United, Service Employees International Union, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Start Early, Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice, TakeAction Minnesota, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, United for Respect, We All Rise, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest PA, Women Employed, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, Women’s Law Project, Women’s Media Center, Workplace Fairness, YWCA of the University of Illinois, YWCA USA, ZERO TO THREE.
The legislators also introduced the Schedules That Work Act, complementary legislation to help ensure that low-wage employees have more certainty about their work schedules and income. The Schedules That Work Act protects workers who ask for schedule changes from retaliation and requires employers to consider their requests. For retail, food service, and cleaning occupations, it requires employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance. The legislation also provides compensation to these employees when their schedules change abruptly or they are assigned to particularly difficult shifts, including split shifts and call-in shifts.
A Berkeley study found that unpredictable schedules – which often mean lack of access to enough working hours – are associated with financial insecurity, housing insecurity, high stress, poor health outcomes, and, for parents, less time spent with children, which, in turn, leads to worse outcomes for children. Another study, from The Shift Project, found racial inequality in schedule notice has widened during the pandemic. People of color were likely than white workers to report having less than 2 weeks’ notice of their work schedule. Overall, women of color were 15-30% more likely to experience canceled shifts, on call shifts, and involuntary part-time work compared with white men.
Laws to help workers access more work hours have already been passed as part of fair workweek laws across the country, including in Chicago, Emeryville, California; New York City; Philadelphia; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle; and SeaTac, Washington.