Seattle Passes “Impossible” New Worker Scheduling Laws
Some business owners in Seattle say the new secure scheduling laws will be "impossible" to work around, and will only result in fewer hours and more layoffs for many workers. Secure Scheduling is the latest brainchild of labor union backed Working for Washington, and could potentially leave business owners in serious trouble when it comes to last minute or sick worker scheduling.
For several years, Working Washington has been pushing this idea, especially in the fast food and restaurant industry. Here's what the new law passed by the Seattle City Council by a unanimous vote means, according to the Seattle Times:
"Employers would be required to give good-faith estimates of hours an employee can expect to work upon hiring, post work schedules two weeks in advance, provide at least 10 hours rest between opening and closing shifts, give available hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new workers, and pay additional “predictability pay” when employers make changes to the posted schedule."
It also brings in a costly amount of paperwork, where employers will be forced to log far more details about each worker's performance and work experience, well above and beyond normal EOE requirements. The law means if a worker's two-week schedule has to be changed for any reason, the employer might have to give additional money to the worker who's hours are cut.
Basically, the law can, and will penalize employers for violations, up to $500 per case, even if a boss has to emergency schedule people due to sudden illnesses or other issues. One of the key phrases in the law also spells doom for people looking for work:
"...Give available hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new workers."
The supporters of this idea do not come from a business back round. The Times reports the response from Seattle-area businesses has been far less enthusiastic than the labor-backed Working Washington and others. By trying to keep all available hours in-house, this will discourage employers from trying to hire additional workers, thereby hurting the very people this idea is supposed to help.
The new laws will go into effect in July, and will apply to large retailers, food servers and fast-food establishments that have 500 or more workers, and to full-service restaurants with more than 500 workers, and/or 40 or more locations.
Working Washington is back-funded by labor unions, and other ties to the controversial Service Employees International Union, (SEIU) the same folks who tried to pull off boycotts and protests at McDonald's restaurants in Spokane and Tri-Cities a year ago April. You may remember in Pasco, their protest went ignored, and consisted of one union rep in a SEIU shirt, and two people standing next to him. These were related to the $15 minimum wage effort.
It's not listed on their website, but numerous investigations into their activities have shown considerable labor union support and funding, despite their attempts to portray themselves as a grassroots organization.