Refinery 29: What 5 Oregon Women Think Of The First State-Level Fair Scheduling Law

Originally published on 08/10/2017 3:50 PM

Oregon became the first state to require that employers give workers advance notice of their schedules when Gov. Kate Brown signed a fair scheduling bill into law on Tuesday.

The "Fair Work Week" Act guarantees people working for food, hospitality, and retail companies with more than 500 employees notice of their upcoming schedule. It also allows a break of at least 10 hours between shifts (meaning no quick turnarounds to work consecutive closing and opening shifts), and prohibits employers from retaliating when employees express their schedule needs.

Major cities such as New York City and San Francisco have passed similar laws, but no other states have protections in place for food and retail workers' schedules. And because most low-wage workers are women (many of whom work for food, hospitality, and retail companies), the Oregon law will inevitably benefit female workers.

"While D.C. has lost sight of working Americans, Oregon lawmakers came together this session to help workers balance life and their job with the first statewide Fair Work Week bill," Gov. Brown said on Facebook. "Here in Oregon, we keep moving forward."

Refinery29 talked to five Oregon women who currently or previously work in the affected industries, and they all — along with the Oregon Working Families Party that led the coalition in support of the bill — hope to see more states follow in Oregon's footsteps.

"This is a huge moment for labor rights in America," said Hannah Taube, spokesperson for the Oregon Working Families Party, in a statement sent to Refinery29. "We hope Oregon is the first of many states to expand scheduling protections for workers — knowing when you work more than a day in advance is essential to parents, students, and many other workers trying to make ends meet with two or three different jobs."