New Jersey lawmakers consider secure scheduling bill

TRENTON, NJ – Sen. Loretta Weinberg and co-sponsor Sen. Nia Gill introduced the New Jersey Fair Workweek Act (SB 921) on Thursday. The bill aims to curtail “unfair and discriminatory scheduling practices” by regulating advance notice and adequate rest between shifts, and requiring employers to pay for on-call or cancelled shifts. The bill also includes an access-to-hours provision, which requires employers to offer existing employees additional hours before hiring more part-time workers. Advocates of the bill argue that increasing schedule stability and predictability will ensure greater income stability for hourly workers and their families, and help secure a healthy work-life balance.

Source: NJTV News (Accessed 2/19/20)

In a recent Shift Project report, we find that erratic schedules are common among New Jersey service sector workers. For example, 49% of workers report working “clopening” shifts, and 70% report a change in the timing or length of a shift. Workers in New Jersey also report insufficient wages and work hours. Forty-three percent typically work fewer than 40 hours per week at their primary job and would like more hours. Sixty-eight percent of New Jersey workers said that, in a typical month, they have difficulty covering their expenses and paying all their bills.

Unstable schedules and insufficient hours may impact workers’ health and wellbeing, and can hinder workers’ ability to plan for child care and attend school. These practices have intergenerational impacts as well: children who experience disruption to routines and other stressors related to schedule instability are more likely to act out or feel sad.