SPRINGFIELD – Activist groups focused on changing Illinois policies affecting the workforce are plowing their way through the Illinois General Assembly. Already, the #Fightfor15 movement has forced a statewide minimum wage requirement of $15 per hour over the next few years. Employers are required to participate in a retirement plan of some sort for each of their fulltime employees. Now the #FairWorkweek movement demand predictable and stable work hours and a voice in deciding when and how much they will work.
Days of working overtime unexpectedly would be gone if the group's efforts become state law.
"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," the group's website says.
The basic following standards being demanded would be set into place:
Predictable Schedules – 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 – Ensures that existing part-time employees have a chance to pick up newly available hours before their employer hires additional staff.
Healthy Schedules – Ensures 10-11 hours of rest between shifts with the right to decline or overtime pay for working shifts with less rest to allow
Flexibility – Ensures working people can have flexibility and make scheduling requests to adjust their availability without fear of termination, reduction in hours, or other retaliation.
There's no explanation offered for employers forced to request extra hours to cover for an ill co-worker or a person that suddenly and without explanation takes a paid time off day – one of the week's worth of mandated paid time off days each year. In addition, there's no explanation as to how an employer will be allowed to handle the mandated scheduling changes for expectant mothers and nursing mothers.
The Center for Popular Democracy, which says it works to "create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions," says the CPD strengthens "collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda."
There's also an effort in the city of Chicago to push the mandated work scheduling on Chicago business owners. Here's a petition they're asking people to sign:
To: Chicago City Council From: [Your Name]
I urge you to support Chicago’s Fair Workweek ordinance that would give working families enough reliable work hours at decent pay to support our families, keep healthy and build thriving communities.
Our workforce is increasingly made up of parents, students and working people who are available to work, but don’t get the hours they need to meet the basics. Unpredictable hours, short-notice shift changes, and unpaid on-call time are outdated scheduling practices that hurt working families and block our economic progress. More than 48% of Chicago working families have little to no input into their daily work schedules. Another 44% get less than one week’s notice of work hours, so they scramble to plan childcare, delay doctor visits, and can’t budget to pay their bills. Nearly half of workers need more work hours just to stay afloat, but companies keep hiring new staff instead of giving them the chance to work full time. Big corporations have shifted the costs of doing business on to frontline working people, and it’s hurting our community.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Other cities have updated their laws to provide a fair workweek in the service sector by requiring employers to give existing part-time workers a chance to earn more before hiring new staff, fairly compensate us for our flexibility in accommodating last-minute schedule changes, and ensure healthy rest between shifts.
We can do it here too. We are all counting on you to vote for Chicago’s Fair Workweek ordinance.
More to come …