Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fair Scheduling Gains Momentum

Justin Miller
Sept. 20, 2016

Worker movements have had tremendous success in blue cities and states in securing higher minimum wages and access to paid sick leave. Now those wins are blazing a trail for another critical policy for low-wage workers: the right to a fair workweek. After enacting a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave in recent years, two cities are now leading the way on granting workers the right to a sane and predictable schedule.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his support for legislation currently pending in the city council that would give Gotham’s fast-food workers the right to more predictable work hours. On Monday, the Seattle City Council passed a comprehensive fair workweek law that advocates hope can serve as a model for other cities.

These policy developments come at a time when many workers say that service-sector employers’ scheduling practices make it impossible for them to live their lives. On-call scheduling—in which workers can be told to report to work with little advance notice—make it hard for employees to schedule parenting, school, doctor visits, and much else. Scheduling software aimed solely at efficiency can lengthen or eliminate their shifts at the last minute. On top of that, the prevalent practice of “clopening”—where a worker has a closing shift followed just a few hours later by an opening shift—often leaves workers with little time to rest. Meanwhile, workers are on the hook for the costs of uncertainty, like a last-minute taxi ride to work or unexpected child-care costs.

In one nationwide survey, four out of five early-career adult workers said that their weekly hours fluctuated by an average of 87 percent compared with their usual hours; 45 percent of hourly workers who are parents said they have no input on their schedules.

Fair-scheduling advocates say it's time for employees to have more say in scheduling practices—and for employers to finally pay their workers for the costs that their flexible schedule imposes on employees (like those taxi rides and child care). They are also demanding that companies stop hiring more and more workers to maximize flexibility while cutting hours for existing workers.

In 2014, San Francisco became the first jurisdiction in the country to mandate fair-scheduling practices with its unprecedented “Retail Workers Bill of Rights.” The new Seattle law will build on that by requiring that employers give workers two weeks advance notice on shift schedules


On the opposite coast, the New York City legislation focuses on the 65,000 workers in the city’s fast-food industry.


San Jose will decide on a ballot measure that would require companies with 35 or more workers to offer additional hours to part-timers before taking on new employees.

Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis are also considering fair-scheduling measures for retail and fast-food chains, though both efforts have run into heavy resistance from the business lobby. Workers and organizers are also pushing for a fair-scheduling law in Emeryville, a small city between Berkeley and Oakland that is a major retail-shopping destination for the east Bay Area.


No comments:

Post a Comment