Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

April 12, 2022

Labor Committee Co-Chairs Kushner & Porter Stand in Support of Fair Work Week Scheduling Bill

Thousands of low-wage workers struggle to maintain stable income due to unpredictable work schedules 

HARTFORD — Labor and Public Employee Committee Co-Chairs Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) and state Representative Robyn Porter (D- New Haven) today urged other state lawmakers to help them pass House Bill 5353, An Act Concerning a Fair Work Week Schedule,

The Fair Work Week bill will ensure that workers have access to a stable job that treats them and their families with respect by ensuring retail, food service and hospitality workers have their schedules set in advance, which allows for more predictable schedules and paychecks and gives part-time workers the opportunity to work more hours if they so choose.

“The pandemic has only increased the already high number of workers who work multiple jobs. Without fair work week legislation, it’s impossible for workers holding multiple jobs to manage their schedule in a way to keep working,” Sen. Kushner said. “Advanced notice of the schedule benefits both the employer and the workers in managing their schedule so they don’t have to call out because of last-minute changes. If we’re basing our economy and our recovery on part-time work, then we have to commit ourselves to making it work. That requires advanced notice, incentivizing workers who can pick up shifts and paying a nominal amount for workers who are called in and then sent home. It’s clear that work volume and weather conditions have an impact on an employer’s need for workers at any given time, but workers shouldn’t bear the entire cost of this; it should be shared with employers.”

“Two-thirds of Connecticut workers have unpredictable work schedules ,and most of them are women and Black and brown workers. Yet over seventy percent want a predictable work schedule,” Rep. Porter said. “Therefore, we continue to demand a fair work week schedule because it’s not just about a predictable schedule but a predictable paycheck. It is long overdue for Connecticut workers to have the sustainability that they need and deserve, and House Bill 5353 will provide them with the necessary tools to assist with things like housing and food security and help to level the playing field at its most vulnerable intersections for these undervalued low-wage workers.”

Sen. Kushner and Rep. Porter were joined by a variety of Fair Work Week Schedule supporters, including Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), Representatives Bob Godfrey (D-Danbury) and Gary Turco (D-Newington), and AFL-CIO President Ed Hawthorne, President, CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund Executive Director Janée Woods Weber, CT Working Families Party State Director Sarah Ganong, and Cristher Estrada, an impacted worker.

“I worked part-time at the Clinique counter at Macy’s while I was attending college full-time,” Estrada told reporters today as Sen. Kushner and Rep. Porter looked on. “I loved the work, but they made it so hard for me – last-minute schedule changes, they’d dock you points if you were even five minutes late, and one time I showed up for my shift and they told me it had been canceled and they didn’t want to pay me. Everyone deserves a good, steady job that pays a living wage and treats them with respect. Legislators must support the Fair Work Week bill.”

“All workers have a right to a good, stable job that pays a living wage and treats them respectfully. In Connecticut, hundreds of thousands of low wage hourly workers, many earning poverty wages, struggle to earn a stable income because of unpredictable work schedules,” Ganong said. “After several years, it is long past time for legislators to pass House Bill 5353 and ensure Connecticut workers have access to a stable job that respects them, their time, and their families, and gives them a path to prosperity.”

“If we are serious about creating more equity in our state and in our economy, then passing fair work week legislation is mandatory,” Woods Weber said. “Women and people of color are over-represented in jobs with unpredictable scheduling and low wages. If we don’t put basic protocols like fair and predictable scheduling into place, then as a state we cannot claim to value women in the workplace or people of color in the workplace. We need to pass this bill this session, without any more excuses that value business profits over people’s lives.”