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Members of Congress Introduce Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act

May 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (May 9, 2019) U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), John Katko (NY-24), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would assist in the implementation of existing professional standards for food service employees in schools. The Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act would ensure that training occurs during work hours, and if training is unable to occur during scheduled work hours, the bill makes clear that employees must be informed in advance and compensated appropriately.

“Every day, our nation’s school food service workers ensure that millions of American children receive the nutrition they need. While training has become an essential part of the role, many food service workers have become burdened by the cost and scheduling, making it difficult for them to meet the requirements,” said Congressman Pocan. “Employees shouldn’t be forced to stay late for training or be penalized if they can’t attend it outside of their scheduled hours. The Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act eases the effects that completing this training can have on workers. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation and am grateful for my colleagues support of this critical bill.”

“It is essential our children have access to nutritious school lunches, and cafeteria food service workers are key to delivering these meals,” said Congressman Katko. “This legislation sets forth basic provisions to ensure that the individuals who work to make healthy meals in our schools are trained professionally and properly.”

“Food service workers make sure our kids receive nutritious meals at school. They are an essential part of our children’s education and we should treat them as such,” Congressman Levin said. “Food service workers deserve high quality, on-the-job training without having to pay out-of-pocket. That’s why the bipartisan Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act is so important, and I’m proud to support it.”

“Food Service workers play a significant role in our children’s schools, and we should make every effort to ensure they are treated fairly as respected and valued employees,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “These employees should not have to pay out of pocket with their time or money in order to receive training to effectively do their jobs. This bipartisan legislation ensures that Food Service workers receive training within work hours or are properly compensated for trainings outside of work hours. I’m proud to support this important bill and to stand with school employees throughout the North Country.”

The reauthorization of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 enacted professional standards for food service workers. These standards worked to ensure that school meals are as healthy as possible for students. The Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act builds on these standards and:

  • Ensures that training sessions occur primarily during work hours;
  • Compensates workers for training sessions that must occur outside of work hours;
  • Makes every effort to inform workers of training sessions that must take place outside of work hours;
  • Does not penalize workers who are unable to attend training sessions outside of work hours; and
  • Promotes hands-on, in-person training when appropriate, and utilizes online training as supplemental when appropriate.