National Partnership for Women & Families


Vicki Shabo, Vice President

From the desk of ... Vicki Shabo

Time for Schedules That Work

July 25, 2014 | Workplace Fairness

Can you imagine not knowing from day to day or week to week whether you will be scheduled to work or what your paycheck will look like? What about showing up at work only to be sent home with no guarantee of pay? Millions of people across the country routinely face these challenges and the economic instability that results, and women and low-wage workers are disproportionately affected.

The sad reality is that, in the United States today, many workers are struggling because their employers engage in unpredictable and unfair scheduling practices. These workers receive little to no information in advance about their weekly work schedules and often endure hours and shift lengths that change drastically from week to week. Some workers are required to call to find out if they are scheduled to work each morning, and even then, they may have to travel to their workplace without knowing if they will be needed, be paid, or be sent home once they get there.

Nearly half (47 percent) of part-time hourly workers ages 26 to 32 receive a week or less advance notice of their schedules, according to a University of Chicago analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. As a result, these workers have almost no stability or predictability and find it nearly impossible to arrange child care, work at a second job, take classes, or meet their families’ basic needs. The situation is harmful to workers, businesses and our economy. And it’s entirely unnecessary.

That’s why we were so pleased to see the Schedules That Work Act introduced by Senators Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren (D – Mass.) and Representatives George Miller (D – Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D – Conn.) this week. The bill would help to address these issues by giving workers more control over their schedules, encouraging employers to be clear about scheduling and hours expectations, and ensuring employers provide some wages when schedules are irregular or change on short notice.

All members of Congress should commit to supporting this legislation to address harmful and unpredictable scheduling. The common sense Schedules That Work Act would help to ensure that employees have a say in their work schedules, the predictability and stability they need to meet the dual demands of work and family, and a better chance at achieving economic security for themselves and their families.


Submitted by Torquinian on September 2, 2014
Fair is fair - makes everyone happier with the results.
Submitted by Gail on September 2, 2014
I will tell you a very possible REASON why workers are KEPT poor (per some of the comments here)...........per an online commenter recently, if consumers (workers) are paid decently, they would not only have more purchasing power, but per this commenter, [something I hadn't thought of].......the consumers / workers would ALSO gain OTHER powers.........they would gain the power to DIMINISH/REMOVE the power of the wealthy over the middle class/poor. That's what the Conservatives/Tea Party politicos are afraid of.......therefore, per this commenter, that's why the Conservatives / Tea Party legislators are DETERMINED to KEEP the middle class and poor - POOR . So we will not be able to obtain the power to take away any of the Conservatives / Tea Party [and their wealthy and corporate friends] power over us middle class and poor !
Submitted by Dagmar on September 2, 2014
The most vulnerable are suffering the most. Labor laws in the US are the worst in the developed world. Reform! Unite!
Submitted by Mister Roper on September 2, 2014
It's high time employers are stripped of their ability to punish workers through abusive scheduling. It isn't good business. It's just being an .
Submitted by Fairforall on September 2, 2014
Don't you just love the secret boss TV program where selected employees are offered $, homes, education opportunities instead of decent hourly wages and hours for all, so that they could obtain these things for themselves!
Submitted by valgale on September 1, 2014
Yes, this is pretty much my life at the moment. Flexible shcedules, 24 hour around-the-clock availability unless want to get 31 to 33 hours a week, which my company considers full time. I get my work schedule about 10 days before, and some days are opening shifts, some are closing. I make $9 an hour. If I ask for a specific day off, I am then given a 4 day work week, even though I am available to work 7 days. They schedule 32 hours over 5 days so i can't pick up a 5th day, that's how they keep your hours low. My company even has a point system that makes you afraid to even take a sick day.
Submitted by silverfoxcruiser on September 1, 2014
This is obviously by design to enable low pay companies to enslave their employees, and not give them any opportunity other than slave wages!
Submitted by chokyal on September 1, 2014
The have work for over 30 years, and the true is that I did have some jobs like that . These kind of jobs are a pain in the kister and don't pay well. On more than half of the jobs that I used to work ,I got short changed in My paycheck.
Submitted by none on September 1, 2014
I have friends at my UU church that are very much in this, at the mercy of their bosses, position. It is deplorable and unethical.
Submitted by jrobink on September 1, 2014
workers deserve much more respect and better treatment
Submitted by Leslie on September 1, 2014
What a nightmare for these people.
Submitted by Long Sam on September 1, 2014
There is flexibility within a company - I was in mid-management for years and know that i could work things out for an employee.
Submitted by DSchilling Reyes on September 1, 2014
We need to keep fighting for worker's rights!!
Submitted by mary on September 1, 2014
People must be able to plan.
Submitted by lehmansterms on September 1, 2014
What we're seeing (to try to be as kind and polite as I can - there are some less-than-complementary euphemisms I could easily fall back upon here!) is "modern" HR/labor-management's attempt to emulate "Just-in-time" inventory and supply with the equivalent "just-in-time" workforce. It is a sign of general laziness in failing to predict the need for workers (don't even get me started on the scam of"part-time vs. full-time workers!". It's easier for the lazy to figure it out at the end of each day for the next day or two instead of implementing humane scheduling!) Management: Plan your workload on the basis of a "normal" week and hire enough FULL TIME (vested, etc.) permanent workers to supply the need. Then, when you've got things well-covered and there is a short-term necessity to fill legitimate gaps, hire temps through a temp agency where those who want to work on a day-to-day basis can be found! It is unconscionable that people who presumably learned these skills when they took their MBA's depend on the desperation of the workforce to enable their collective laziness and bosses' greed!
Submitted by Heather on September 1, 2014
I dealt with this kind of poor management in my last job. In spite of company policy stating that the schedule would be posted by noon on Friday it often wasn't posted until 2 or 3 in the afternoon on Saturday, which meant you had less than 12 hours notice if you were scheduled to work on Sunday.
Submitted by huntscots on September 1, 2014
No parent, but especially a mother, wants her kids raised directly by day care. My hubby & I made good money but my company was very strict and did not work with me at all when I got a new lady boss with no kids, after I lost my husband and had 13 yo home alone after school in a newly mixed neighborhood. I was "forced" to work my usual 10 hour days anyway. She wound up at home from 3:30 -- 8 pm alone some nights. That's not right or fair to me or my child.
Submitted by D. on September 1, 2014
Republicans hate Unions, but they serve a purpose in keeping employers in line and offering some protection to the employees/workers, including safety, hours worked, schedules, and rate of pay.
Submitted by the ma on August 2, 2014
This is the world of retail in particular. If politicians want to do ANYTHING for families, they will make tax breaks available so that it only takes ONE PERSON to support a family, not both parents. Make it possible for either mother OR father to stay home with the child(ren). No daycare worker will love and raise a child like a parent will.
Submitted by Audrey on August 1, 2014
You have my support!
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