Warren Introduces Part-Time Workers Bill of Rights

February 28, 2020

Large employers would be prohibited from discriminating against part-time employees and required to offer more hours to them before hiring new employees or turning to contractors if a bill introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is enacted.

The bill would, with certain distinctions, prohibit employers from discriminating against part-time employees with respect to:

  • Compensation;
  • Notice of, and input into, work hours;
  • Eligibility for paid and unpaid time-off;
  • Promotion opportunities; or
  • Other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

The measure would also expand family and medical leave to some part-time workers and expand access to company retirement plans to those who have worked 500 hours for two years.

Here’s the upshot:  “Giant companies force millions of workers to work part-time every year rather than hiring full-time staff to skimp on wages and benefits,” said Senator Warren.  However, the BLS reports 84% of part-time employees are voluntarily working part-time. 

Support from former presidential candidates:  U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are cosponsors and a House companion bill has also been introduced.  This far, the bill has no Republican support.

Outlook:  The bill is going nowhere this year.  Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will not take it up in the Senate.  While the measure could pass the House, with the few legislative days remaining on the Congressional calendar this year, it will be a long shot.  Nevertheless, this bill, the PRO Act, and several other workplace bills we’ve highlighted in this space clearly outline the Democratic agenda if control of the Senate and/or the White House flips in November.