Council unanimously (9-0) adopted Secure Scheduling legislation today, adding stability and predictability to Seattle shift workers’ hourly incomes and schedules. The legislation, developed collaboratively between Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Lorena González and Councilmember Lisa Herbold, is intended to address retail and food service employees’ unpredictable working conditions by requiring employers to provide workers with a good-faith estimate of hours upon hiring, provide work schedules two weeks in advance, and requires compensation for workers if their hours are changed or if they’re asked to work back-to-back shifts that prevent adequate resting time.
“Seattle once again is taking concrete steps to address income inequality,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Secure scheduling helps working families, young people, students, and workers of color by providing stability and clarity to their work schedule. I would like to thank our progressive community of businesses, labor, and to Councilmembers Lorena González and Lisa Herbold for helping create more equitable workplaces and healthier lives for workers.”
Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 8, Citywide) said, “For the last 10 months we have been working to craft legislation that gives workers not only Secure Schedules, but also secure incomes. As we work to make Seattle a city that welcomes workers of all incomes, all backgrounds, and in many languages, this legislation moves us closer to a truly equitable community.”
Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) said, “Unpredictable work schedules disproportionately affect women and especially women of color. This legislation will provide adequate notice of schedules, the right to rest between shifts, predictability pay for additions to the schedules, and access to hours to existing part-time employees. This is an important step forward for the workers of Seattle in balancing the needs of business with the lives of workers.”
The legislation adopted 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:
- Employers must give employees their schedules 14 days in advance. If an employer adds hours, the employee is paid for one additional hour of “predictability pay”
- If an employee is scheduled for a shift and sent home early, the employee is paid for half of the hours not worked
- A good faith estimate of workers’ hours are to be provided upon hire
- Employees have a right to decline any shift added to their schedule within two the two week notice period without fear of retaliation from their employer
- If the gap between a closing and opening shift is less than 10 hours, an employee is entitled to be paid time-and-a-half for the difference (addressing so-called “clopenings”)
- The “access to hours” measure requires that employers give notice and offer hours to qualified 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
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. For six months, 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. Since March, 17 stakeholder meetings took place, and the Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee met over a dozen times to review and refine the legislation.
Mayor Murray and Councilmembers also felt it essential that employees retain their ability to swap shifts or accept additional hours. Under the new regulations, employers are not expected to offer one hour predictability pay when an employee requests a change to their schedule; when an employee finds replacement coverage for hours through an employee-to-employee shift swap; or when an employer provides notice of additional hours through mass communication and receives a voluntary offer to cover the available hours.
Seattle is the second municipality in the nation to adopt Secure Scheduling regulations, after San Francisco. Several other cities are considering Secure Scheduling laws, including Albuquerque, New York City and Washington DC.
The legislation adopted today will now to be delivered to Mayor Murray for his signature. The legislation will take effect July 1, 2017.