Hard work is a West Virginia value most of us hold dear. But for West Virginians struggling to get by and facing new demands on their time by employers a "fair workweek" law would help them.
For those who work constantly changing shifts, it can be hard to hold down a job, let alone the two or three jobs most people need if they’re going to survive on minimum wage.
But HB 3121, a “fair workweek” bill introduced in the legislature this year, could be a real opportunity for workers to get a fairer shake if it moves forward next year.
State Delegate Sammi Brown of Jefferson County, lead sponsor of the bill, saw workers struggling with unfair schedules in her district. She also noted that as the nature of jobs change, employers’ scheduling practices are changing, too.
Part-time and hourly work is on the rise in the Eastern Panhandle and all across West Virginia. Retailers have begun using more advanced tools to manage staffing during ebbs and flows of customer traffic. More of them expect workers to be constantly on call.
Workers can be required to come to work at the last minute, or may have to work shifts they don’t want to work. That can make holding down a job extra hard for someone whose schedule isn’t very flexible, such as a single mom with kids in daycare.
Through her relationships in the labor organizing world, Delegate Brown found out that other states have begun passing new “fair workweek laws.”
These laws require such things as:
- Advance notice of work schedules.
- Extra compensation for unexpected schedule changes or “on-call” hours.
- The right to accept or decline added or lengthened shifts.
- Mandatory “rest periods” between shifts.
- The right to request scheduling accommodations.
Such policies have already helped more than 1.8 million workers in the U.S.
Working West Virginia families deserve to be treated with fairness and respect. Delegate Brown and her colleagues who co-sponsored the bill, including Delegates Lisa Zuckoff, Danielle, Walker, Rodney Pyles and Cindy Lavender-Bowe, deserve credit for pushing this common-sense solution in the Mountain State.
Tell your legislators that you support Sammi Brown’s fair scheduling bill!