Bill could gut scheduling

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A Congressional proposal to provide low-wage hourly employees with more stability and workplace protections could hit nursing homes.

The “Schedules that Work Act” creates scheduling and compensation standards for workers in fast-growing industries including the janitorial sector. The bill could cover nursing home housekeeping workers, a spokesman for sponsor Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) told McKnight's.

A companion bill is also under consideration in the House of Representatives, but no hearings had been scheduled at press time. Supporters said the bill is needed because of work scheduling practices.

It calls for schedules to be created at least two weeks in advance, requiring one hour's extra pay if a schedule changes with less than 24 hours' notice.

“Workers need scheduling predictability so they can arrange for child care, pick up kids from school, or take an elderly parent to the doctor,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

The bill requires employers to pay workers for at least four hours if scheduled for that duration and sent home early; provides an extra hour's pay for split shifts; and protects employees who make scheduling requests related to childcare, education or second jobs.

“This is about some basic fairness in work scheduling,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a co-sponsor.