A newly approved Berkeley city ordinance promises to protect and compensate low-wage and part-time workers at some of the city’s largest employers.
The Fair Workweek Ordinance reduces the mental and physical strain of last-minute schedule changes or extreme back-to-back shifts, requiring covered employers to offer part-time workers additional hours before hiring new part-time staff.
“I’m proud that our City listened to our most vulnerable workers, including emotional testimony from residents and workers experiencing exploitative scheduling practices that contribute to stress, exhaustion, and on-the-job injuries,” said Kate Harrison, the city’s vice mayor. “The harm is real in people’s lives; we have an obligation to ensure a fair balance for employees and our biggest employers.”
Berkeley’s ordinance builds on laws in Emeryville, San Francisco, and Chicago by increasing the number and types of large employers covered. A recent academic study of a related Emeryville ordinance showed that the law decreased work days for parents while increasing work hours per day and improved parent well-being. The ordinance is the culmination of four years of careful consideration with labor and impacted businesses at the Labor Commission and Council policy committees.