July 22, 2015
Compiled By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Since 1927, Wisconsin has had a law requiring employers in manufacturing and retail to give workers at least one 24-hour period off in a calendar week. That ended on July 12, when Governor Scott Walker signed a two-year budget with an amendment that repealed that law.
The law says workers would have to volunteer to work seven days in a row, but many people question just how voluntary that would be. "There may be workers who want to work more hours… but on the other hand, there are people who don't want to have that extra time imposed," said Donald Kettl, former head of the University of Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs. "[They] may feel they have no choice but to accept or put their job at risk.” Under the previous law, employers could apply for a waiver if they wanted to have workers on the job seven days a week, such as in retail during the Christmas season. Those waivers, while routinely approved, created a paper trail to help track whether employers were abusing their employees, said Martha De La Rosa, director of the advocacy group 9to5 Wisconsin.
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