Fair Workweek legislation has sprung up organically in parts around the country in response to the prevalence and consequence of work schedules that may be erratic, unstable unpredictable or unreliable. The venerable Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs the workweek and overtime in the United States, was established to stabilize and standardize work hours for employees, and incentivize employers to curb excessive reliance on long hours from their employees. To that end it has largely succeeded, for those covered by the FLSA. It was not equipped, however, to deal with the widespread use of last minute, on-call or inadequate work hours, which might have equally, if not worse, consequences for workers.
The new laws and rules grant certain workers more advanced notice of their schedule and some compensation for being treated as effectively on- call, sometimes even on-demand workers. These policy reforms were the result not only of political and grass-roots campaigns, but were informed by thorough, reliable and ultimately persuasive research for both the advocates and policy- makers. This has culminated in the adoption of minimum standards and protections regarding work scheduling in big cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York, and now one state, Oregon (and New York on its way). Second, Chicago has joined the field with the introduction of the Fair Workweek Ordinance.