Are scheduling mandates good or bad for store associates?
Following a similar initiative carried out in San Francisco, Seattle just passed a law mandating employers to provide greater clarity into worker schedules and additional pay for last-minute changes.
The requirements under “Secure Scheduling Ordinance,” which became effective Saturday, include the following stipulations:
- Schedules must be posted 14 days in advance.
- Employers must provide in writing an estimate of what hours employees can expect at the time of their hiring.
- Employees must have at least 10 hours off between shifts, or be paid time and a half.
- Before a schedule is posted, schedule requests related to a major life event (employee’s transportation, housing, other jobs, education, caregiving, and self-care for serious health condition) must be granted.
- Before hiring new employees, employers must post a notice of available hours for three days and offer the job to current employees.
- After the schedule is posted, employees are paid one additional hour when an employer adds hours. When subtracted, employees are paid for half of the hours not worked.
The law applies to retail and quick-service food establishments with more than 500 employees worldwide and to restaurants with 500-plus employees and 40 or more locations.
A number of articles over the last few years have detailed the pressures unpredictable schedules place on workers. With many part-time jobs now filled by adults, employees struggle to manage childcare, balance shifts between two jobs, find transportation and juggle work and classes. Frequent complaints include getting notice of work schedules only one day in advance and receiving far fewer hours than promised. Scheduling software was seen as part of the problem.
Every mandate has some exceptions. The “premium pay” mandate, for example, doesn’t apply when associates swap shifts or “mass communications” such as text or e-mail are used to ask workers if they can fill an unexpectedly open shift.
A Seattle Times article detailed how businesses are being challenged to deal with the new law’s extensive documentation requirements, reduced flexibility around hiring part-timers, and training often-young managers on how to meet the new guidelines. Critics of such laws also argue they reduce flexibility and hours for workers.
- Secure Scheduling Ordinance – Seattle Office Of Labor Standards
- Seattle’s ‘secure scheduling’ rewrites work rules at stores, restaurants – The Seattle Times
- ‘Secure scheduling’ law has many traps for employers, lawyer says – Puget Sound Business Journal
- Seattle’s secure scheduling law takes effect Saturday – K5
- Is labor scheduling too erratic? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Seattle’s “Secure Scheduling Ordinance” and similar laws as sensible requirements or overly-burdensome to retailers? Will they help resolve worker complaints? Where do you see store managers facing the biggest challenges meeting such protocols?