Predictability for Hours Worked Means Economic Security for Workers
After dozens of meetings and countless conversations with business owners, labor and workers, City Council adopted Secure Scheduling legislation this past Monday. I was proud to be a co-sponsor of this historic bill. Seattle is once again a leader in setting worker protections and is now the second major city to have such a law. Albuquerque, New York City, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Rhode Island are all currently exploring similar legislation. Our law is uniquely catered to meet the needs of workers at Seattle's large restaurant and retail service industries. This law applies only to workers at retail and quick or limited-food service establishments with 500 or more employees and to full-service workers at restaurants with 500 or more employees and 40 locations and goes into effect July 1, 2017.
Beginning January 2016, Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1), Mayor Murray and I began the process of developing Secure Scheduling legislation. We did so by having set up a structured stakeholder engagement process that included business owners, workers and labor advocates. What we consistently heard is that workers and employers valued the flexibility afforded by the retail and restaurant service industry but that the lack of access to hours, advance notice of schedule and last minute changes to work schedules were causing economic instability for Seattle's restaurant and retail service workers. This was particularly pronounced for workers who were women, immigrants and people of color.
It is hard to imagine how one can reasonably advance in their careers, manage family demands, or graduate from college, if they're planning their lives one shift and one erratic paycheck in advance. I believe that this law strikes a balance between the desire for flexibility and the need for economic and life security. But, because of concerns regarding this new law (similar to our Minimum Wage Ordinance), this law also requires the City study the impacts of this legislation over the next two years.
We know that this law changes the regulatory environment for covered employers in our City. As a result, this law does not take effect until July 1, 2017. Over the next 10 months, the Office of Labor Standards will undertake the responsibility of promulgating administrative rules and educating both workers and business owners on their rights and responsibilities under this new labor standard.