Oregon Passes Nation’s First Statewide ‘Fair Work Week’ Bill

Not knowing when you’re working can make life more complicated than it needs to be. Arranging childcare, making medical appointments, and fitting in a second job can make time especially tight. Beyond organizing a livable schedule, an uncertain work schedule can also mean an uncertain income that changes from week to week.  

SB 828 passed by the Oregon Senate (23-6) and House (46-13) seeks to address these issues. All Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted to cover workers at food, hospitality, and retail companies with 500 or more employees worldwide. A press release from Democrats noted that the law was the outcome of a “fairly contentious conversation” between business and labor leaders.

Under the law, employers would be required to supply work schedules seven days (14 days beginning in 2020) in advance of the beginning of a scheduling period. Employers will need to provide “good faith” expectations of the average number of hours a newly hired employee will work and revisit these expectations annually or if the employer’s needs or the employee’s availability changes. Workers can also refuse last-minute requests to fill shifts.

In terms of compensation, the law would require time-and-a-half wages when there are less than 10 hours off between shifts. Workers would get an extra hour of wages if their shift lasts more than 30 minutes beyond scheduled, changes time, or is added after their schedules are posted. Workers would also still get half of their hourly wages for any whole or partially dropped shifts.

Large cities like New York and San Francisco already have similar laws, but Oregon is the first state to follow suit. Legislators hope it will serve as a model for others to follow.

By Andy Hahn