Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmembers Lorena González and Lisa Herbold, today unveiled a framework addressing schedule predictability and flexibility for workers and employers. The secure scheduling proposal calls for better estimates and notification of hours, ensures workers have the right to rest between shifts, ensures workers receive predictability pay for erratic scheduling, and creates guidelines for employers looking to offer additional hours. Seattle becomes the second major U.S. city to take this action to help many low-income workers, women, and people of color.
“Creating equity in Seattle means providing workers with access to a reliable schedule that meets their life and financial needs, while balancing the daily realities facing large employers,” said Mayor Murray. “Secure scheduling can rise to this complex challenge by addressing the persistent uncertainty and inequality most often experienced by workers of color, working parents, and young people in our rapidly growing city. Seattle will once again lead the conversation on how to respond to inequality by proposing new, innovative policy solutions that help workers and employers create healthier and more equitable workplaces.”
Currently, large retail and food service establishments face inconsistent staffing needs on a daily basis, resulting in workers bearing the burden of irregular scheduling practices. A study commissioned by the City of Seattle found that such scheduling practices create serious financial and family hardship for some Seattle workers, disproportionately affect employees of color, and negatively impact parenting and childcare responsibilities. The study also found that 70 percent of Seattle workers have on-call shift responsibilities, with the majority of employees having less than 6 hours’ notice when called into work. These findings are in line with hardships facing workers in national studies.
“As Chair of the Committee overseeing the subject of secure scheduling, I’ve made efforts to incorporate feedback from many with an expressed interest in this policy,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “We’ve gone to great lengths to consult the experts, spent countless hours meeting with business owners and workers, commissioned our own study which confirmed findings from nationally recognized academics, as well as reviewed one conducted by the restaurant industry, and heard numerous first-hand accounts of the people who stand to benefit from the implementation. No one perspective, report, or testimonial led to this bill. I am especially grateful for the feedback which helped to inform our work. Seattle’s economy depends on business success, and business success depends on worker success. Together, I hope we can reach agreement that will make everyone successful, business and worker alike. We’ll host a public hearing on August 16 at 6:00 p.m., and aim for final passage mid-September.”
“This ordinance isn’t just about knowing when to clock in. It’s about ensuring that we are taking concrete steps to combat income inequality,” said Councilmember Lorena González. “When almost one in three workers say they aren’t getting the hours they need to make rent or pay for childcare, we have a real problem. This bill provides a solution to that real problem. I am proud that we as a City are standing up once again for the cities hourly workers, who we know are primarily women and people of color.”
Beginning in March of this year, City policymakers conducted extensive outreach in the business and labor community to gather information on best practices, challenges, and scheduling needs of both workers and employers. City staff led roundtables with business and labor leaders, visited workplaces, and separately met with business owners, scheduling managers and individual workers to better understand how schedules are created and the impact unpredictable scheduling has on workers’ lives.
The proposal announced today extends to retail and quick or limited food service establishments with more than 500 employees worldwide, and full service restaurants with more than 500 employees and 40 full-service restaurant locations worldwide. Among key provisions of the proposal:
- Two weeks advance notice of work schedule to employees with non-voluntary additions or subtractions to schedules requiring predictability pay
- Good faith estimate of workers’ hours provided upon hire
- Right to rest measure, ensuring at least 10 hours between closing and opening shifts (addressing so-called “clopenings”)
- Access to hours measure, requiring that employers give notice to current employees of new, additional hours available before hiring additional staff
- On-call protections measure, whereby employees will receive half-time pay for any shift they are on-call and do not get called into work
The proposal will be considered by the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts committee. The proposal will then go before a full Council vote later this month. Full text of the draft proposal can be found here, along with a detailed summary here.