Some 130,000 part-time workers will be positively affected by a new bill passed today by the city council, guaranteeing a fair workweek. This means that non-full time employees will enjoy benefits like a more predictable schedule, along with a guaranteed 11 hours’ rest in between shifts. The bill passed to great applause in the council chamber, where only three councilmembers cast a vote against the measure.
The new law will be similar to those passed by New York City and Seattle, where part-time workers enjoy similar protections to those that will be endowed on Philadelphian part-timers on January 1st, 2019.
An interesting exception from the bill was any measure raising the minimum wage, or guaranteeing any certain amount of hours per week. Councilwoman Helen Gym, who sponsored the bill, responded to questions about that fact thusly:
“This is a city council that is dedicated to ending poverty and supporting working families,” she said. “This is a bill that will do that.”
Later today, the council is expected to vote on a seperate bill that will gradually raise Philadelphia’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour. Right now, the minimum is less than eight dollars an hour – one of the lowest on the East Coast.
Right now, says Gym, part-time workers are subject to abusive scheduling, such as scheduling shifts of indefinite length, or having restaurant servers close up late at night and then report back to work first thing in the morning. Work schedules must also be more predictable, meaning that hourly employees need not wait until the last minute, when weekly schedules go up, to plan their life. The hope is that there will be more consistency in the days these people work and the days they have off, so they can enjoy more consistency in their work and home lives.
“This is a time period when people feel like there’s such little movement for issues for working Americans,” Gym was quoted as saying to local press. “We in our city are choosing to do something about it, and I think it matters that we’re doing it in the poorest big city in America.”