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Recently Introduced and Enacted State and Local Fair Scheduling Legislation

Employees increasingly face just-in-time scheduling practices, including being given very little notice of their work schedules, being sent home early when work is slow without being paid for their scheduled shifts, and being assigned to call-in shifts or on-call shifts that require them to call their employer or wait to be called by their employer, often within two hours of their potential shift, to find out whether they will be required to report to work. In addition, many employees have very little ability to make adjustments to their work schedules without penalty. More than a third of parents say they have been “passed over” for a promotion, a raise, or a new job due to a need for a flexible work schedule. Among low-wage workers, about half report having little flexibility in the hours that they work.

There is a growing movement to improve workplace scheduling practices so that workers and their families can better plan their lives. In the past year, lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal, state and local level to respond to these difficult scheduling practices. In 2014, San Francisco passed a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Ordinance provides scheduling protections for employees in certain types of jobs. Also in 2014, Michigan introduced a bill modeled after the federal scheduling legislation that was introduced earlier that same year, the Schedules That Work Act. And in 2015, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon introduced bills to curb difficult scheduling practices. This fact sheet provides an overview of this recently enacted and proposed state and local legislation.

School Reform and Dropout Prevention: Addressing Disparities in Discipline for African American Girls

African American Girls Experience Harsher, More Frequent School Discipline. Black girls are suspended and expelled from school at higher rates than other girls. In the 2011-12 school year, 12% of all African American girls in grades pre-K–12 were suspended from school—six times the rate of white girls and higher than the rate for any other group of girls, and white, Latino, and Asian American boys.

Schools suspend African American girls more often than they suspend white girls for minor offenses like dress code violations, or subjective offenses like “defiance” or “disobedience.” For example, an Ohio study showed that for behavior labeled as “disobedient or disruptive,” 16.3% of African American girls received out-of-school suspensions and 10% received in-school suspensions. In comparison, the rates for white girls were just 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively, even though Black girls are only a small fraction of Ohio’s student population. For the same offenses, Black girls more often received out-of-school suspension and white girls got in-school suspension. African American girls also are more likely than white girls to be suspended from school for fighting.

Because of such severe and frequent discipline, African American girls spend more time out of the classroom, which contributes to poor academic performance, increased dropout rates, and higher representation in the juvenile justice system. In 2009-10 African American girls represented less than 17% of all female students, but 31% of girls referred to law enforcement by schools and 43% of girls who experienced a school-related arrest. And despite an overall drop in juvenile delinquency cases from 1996 to 2011, girls’ share of delinquency cases increased; among females, the share of cases that involved Black girls went up while white girls’ share declined.

Gender and race stereotypes underlie disparate discipline rates of African American girls, while the impact of trauma is overlooked. Stereotypes of Black women as “hyper-sexualized” and aggressive may contribute to the implicit bias underlying many educators’ views of African American girls, who are more likely than white girls to be penalized for behaviors that challenge our society’s expectations of what is appropriate “feminine” behavior. For example, Black girls who complain about sexual harassment may be labeled as aggressors. Black girls who are assertive and speak up in class may be labeled as “loud” or showing “attitude.” Behavior that is labeled as “defiant” may in fact be a predictable response to unaddressed trauma or mental health issues. Punishing girls for such behavior instead of providing them with services and support fails to change the behavior or improve their engagement in school.

How Policymakers Can Stop the Unfair Discipline of African American Girls

  • Require accurate annual public reporting of school discipline data that can be analyzed by race, sex, disability, type of offense, and length of sanction.
  • Implement positive behavior interventions and culturally-responsive supports, social and emotional learning, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice practices as alternatives to punitive discipline practices and police in schools, which are shown to negatively impact African American girls through increased arrests, involvement with the juvenile justice system, and lost learning time.
  • Train school personnel to recognize the signs of trauma that may underlie behaviors perceived as “defiant” or “disrespectful” and to support students impacted by violence or trauma without re-victimizing them.

The Wage Gap Over Time for Asian American Women

More than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed the wage gap still persists. Women who work full time, year round in the United States are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The wage gap is a penny better for Asian American women—among full-time, year-round workers; Asian American women typically make 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. But in the last five decades, how much progress have Asian American women really made?

In 1988, the earliest year for which data are available, an Asian American woman working full time, year round typically made only 69 cents for every dollar paid to get white, non-Hispanic male counterpart. By 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, this figure stood at 79 cents—just over 10 cents less than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Reports & Toolkits

April 28, 2015
The health care law was a historic step forward for women and their families. But are health plans fulfilling the promise of the Affordable Care Act? State of Women’s Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act assesses coverage of women’s health services by analyzing coverage offered on health insurance Marketplaces by more than 100 insurance companies in 15 states during 2014 and 2015 and found that more than half of the issuers were violating the ACA. State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act goes in-depth into coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods and found widespread violations of the ACA’s requirement that all such methods be covered without co-payments or deductibles.
April 20, 2015
This report, from NWLC and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, presents new data showing that at the national and state levels, girls of color do not receive equal chances to play school sports. The report delves into the consequences of this inequality for girls of color and offers recommendations for addressing the problem. 

Fact Sheets

April 29, 2015

Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced resolutions that would disapprove two District of Columbia laws recently passed by the D.C. Council. The disapproval resolutions – H.J. Res. 43 and 44 – would block laws aimed at protecting women and their families and LGBT students in the District of Columbia from harsh discrimination at work and school.

April 29, 2015

Millions of workers—mostly women—struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage earnings. The Raise the Wage Act would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 per hour by 2020, then index it to keep pace with wages overall. The bill would also eliminate the federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers—which has been frozen at just $2.13 per hour for nearly 25 years—by gradually raising it until it is equal to the regular minimum wage. Establishing one fair minimum wage is a key step toward fair pay for women.

Legal Briefs & Testimony

April 28, 2015

The National Women’s Law Center testified before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulartory Affairs in support of adequate funding to implement the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ensures that pregnant workers in the District of Columbia may no longer be forced to choose between their health and their jobs. But without sufficient funding for public education, outreach and enforcement, the law cannot fulfill its promise of ensuring that women can continue working safely during pregnancy.

April 22, 2015

The National Women’s Law Center submitted testimony in Support of California Assembly Bill 357, the Fair Scheduling Act. This bill provides crucial protections from difficult scheduling practices that undermine workers’ ability to provide for themselves and their families. These protections are particularly important to women, who make up nearly 62 percent of California’s low-wage workforce, where difficult scheduling practices are most common.

Coalition Action Materials

April 22, 2015

Thirty-eight leading groups in the movements for LGBT equality, reproductive freedom, and freedom of religion and belief stand united in opposition to congressional interference with D.C. laws that protect D.C. employees and students from discrimination at work and at school.

March 23, 2015

It’s time for Congress to stand up for the rights of working women and to advance fair pay. On behalf of a broad coalition of organizations that promote economic opportunity for women and full enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, we urge you to co-sponsor and work to swiftly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Webinars & Presentations

Below are resources related to past NWLC webinars, conference calls and other presentations. Please see our list of upcoming calls & webinars.


April 29, 2015

Register today for a series of webinars to learn more about the state of women’s coverage under the Affordable Care Act, health plan violations taking place, and how advocates are taking steps to make sure women have the coverage the law requires.

April 22, 2015

This document provides answers to questions received during the April 15th CLASP and NWLC webinar on implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization.