Schatz Pushes Bill to ʻEnsure Dignity in the Workplaceʻ

November 26, 2019, 11:54 AM HST · Updated November 26, 11:54 AM
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US Sen. Brian Schatz. Courtesy photo.

Under current federal law, employers in the United States are not legally obligated to provide workers a break to eat a meal, use the restroom, or tend to medical needs.

Reports from the Government Accountability Office found that employees in the poultry industry are routinely denied bathroom breaks, forcing many to defecate on themselves or wear adult diapers.

But new legislation that Sen. Schatz introduced today could mandate work intermissions.

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“All workers deserve to be treated with dignity. You shouldn’t have to worry about losing your job just because you need a break to eat a meal or use the restroom,” Schatz said in a press release.

“Our bill will extend these basic and essential rights to all workers.”

The Treating Workers With Dignity Act, cosponsored by Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, would:

  • Require employers to provide employees the option for an uninterrupted 30-minute break in which an employee can eat, for any shift lasting at least six hours.
  • Allow employees to take short, paid breaks to tend to a documented medical condition.
  • Ensure employers provide their employees the opportunity to take a paid restroom break at least once every four hours that they work.

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