Oregon is about to become the first state to approve “fair scheduling” legislation that would require large restaurant and retail companies to provide at least a week’s notice of job scheduling and provide at least 10 hours of rest between shifts, a victory for workers who have bemoaned such uncertainty in the workplace.
The law will mandate that retail, food service and hospitality companies with at least 500 employees worldwide institute the guidelines and will take effect next year. Beginning in 2020, the same employers must provide their workers with their work schedules two weeks in advance. The move will improve the quality of life for those in such jobs substantially.
In places without fair scheduling provisions, employers can switch schedules at the last minute and force workers to work back-to-back shifts in some cases. That makes it virtually impossible for such workers to schedule child care, medical appointments or even work a second job to make ends meet.
Oregon’s passage of such a law follows after New York City approved it in May. The nation’s largest city will require retail businesses with 20 or more employees to provide at least 72 hours’ notice on when to report to work. It also prohibits employers from canceling a shift with less than 72 hours’ notice. San Francisco and Seattle enacted similar measures last year.
Many other states and cities are considering such legislation. Lawmakers are mulling such measures in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Chicago elected officials are as well.
In the Windy City, city council members late last month joined with unions and workers to craft an ordinance that would allow hourly employees to gain scheduling predictability by granting two weeks advance notice on work schedules. If a schedule change was made with less than 24 hours’ notice, affected workers would be entitled to an additional hour of pay.
Today, many low-wage retail workers are placed on a leash by their employer, even though they don’t work full time. They are called just hours before a shift is set to begin and ordered into work, schedule be damned. But more and more, they are declaring enough.
Workers deserve to have predicable schedules, stable hours and reliable paychecks that allow them to support their families with the basic necessities. That means being notified about their schedule well in advance and having the ability to turn down any unscheduled hours without jeopardizing their employment.
It also means being able to set reasonable limitations on their schedules, as well as the right to a substantial break between shifts so workers can get adequate rest.
Hardworking Americans demand fairness and dignity on the job!