Maloney, Casey: Working Families Have Right To Negotiate Flexible Work Arrangements

May 2, 2017
Press Release
Legislation Will Allow Workers to Request Modified Schedules from Employers Without Fear of Retaliation

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) have reintroduced the Flexibility For Working Families Act which will ensure that working Americans can ask their employer for modified schedules so they can balance the demands of their jobs and their home life.

“Flexible workplace policies are a win-win for businesses and workers. Our workforce demographics have changed dramatically in recent years, but our workplace policies have not kept up,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Many more Americans now balance childcare, caring for an elderly parent, or even living with a medical condition, and having flexible workplace arrangements means that workers do not need to choose between food on the table and caring for themselves or loved ones. I’m proud to work with Sen. Casey to push for this sensible bill to protect workers and encourage these arrangements.”

“For many working Pennsylvanians, it’s incredibly difficult to balance the demands of work and family,” said Senator Casey. “This bill will help businesses and employees reach scheduling agreements to maximize productive output, while taking care of personal needs.”

Flexibility for Working Families Act

Our Nation’s workforce has undergone a significant demographic shift over the last 50 years.  The modern workforce includes a broad and diverse cross section of Americans:

  • An increasing number of women have joined the workforce.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 1960 women composed 33 percent of employed persons, whereas in 2010 they were 47 percent of those employed.
  • The number of households with at least one parent at home has fallen.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of married households with children where both parents were in the labor force rose to 66 percent in 2010. The number of single parent families has also increased, almost tripling over the last fifty years, from 5 percent in 1960, to 14 percent in 2010.
  • More workers are caring for older relatives or individuals with special needs.  The National Alliance for Caregiving found that 57 percent of those who provide unpaid care to an adult or to a child with special needs are also employed.
  • Workers often must commute to jobs located outside of city-centers.  Low-wage workers in particular have difficulty reaching jobs through public transportation during off-peak shifts, such as evenings or early mornings.
  • Many companies have responded to the challenges of the modern workforce by instituting flexible work arrangements—voluntary arrangements between employees and employers that alter the time, amount, and/or place that work is conducted.

The Flexibility for Working Families Act would guarantee workers the right to request these arrangements.  Workers could request temporary or permanent changes to

  • The number of hours the employee is required to work.
  • The times when the employee is required to work or be on notice.
  • Where the employee is required to work.
  • Notifications of schedule assignments.

It also provides employers with flexibility by encouraging them to review these requests, propose changes and even deny them if they are not in the best interest of the business.

Positive results for employees and employers

A study by Corporate Voices for Working Families that examined a number of U.S. companies that have instituted flexible work arrangements found that these arrangements:

  • Improve employee satisfaction, morale, health, and well-being
  • Increase employee retention and reduce turnover
  • Reduce overtime and absenteeism
  • Increase productivity

Similar “right to request” laws have successfully increased productivity, attendance and overall job satisfaction in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand.