Could ‘Livable Schedule’ Fight Affect How You Work?

A proposed "livable schedule" ordinance in Seattle would give employers less control over their workers' schedules. How might this emerging trend affect you?

Could ‘Livable Schedule’ Fight Affect How You Work? Photo (cc) by Ian Sane

Seattle was among the first cities to adopt a $15 minimum hourly wage, but City Council members aren’t stopping there.

Fox News’ Seattle-based correspondent Dan Springer reports that the council is now drafting a “livable schedule” ordinance that would give employers less control over their workers’ schedules. But like the $15 minimum wage ordinance, the issue is divisive.

The scheduling ordinance is expected to:

  • Guarantee workers at least 11 hours of downtime between shifts.
  • Require employers to get schedules to workers a week in advance, or else pay workers time-and-a-half if shifts are added inside that time frame.
  • Require employers to pay workers for a few hours of work not performed if shifts are taken away.

Council member Lorena Gonzalez, who is leading this effort, tells Fox News that she thinks some workers feel that they are “being abused.”

Seattle’s billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer says he supports the effort, noting that most workers “have very little leverage or bargaining power,” whereas business owners “have enormous amounts of power.”

Not all members of the business community support what’s also referred to as the “predictive scheduling” movement, however.

Patrick Connor, the Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses, tells Fox News:

“It’s unfortunate that the city of Seattle seems hell-bent on these one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approaches to wages and hour issues. I think this is going to be one more straw that may soon break the camel’s back.”

The Seattle City Council members’ predictive scheduling effort follows New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s 2014 inquiry into the practice of on-call scheduling by 13 major employers and the resulting changes.

Schneiderman announced in December that, since his inquiry, the list of companies that had agreed to end on-call shifts had grown to include:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Gap Inc. (parent company of The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy)
  • J. Crew
  • L Brands (parent company of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret)
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Urban Outfitters

What’s your take on the fight for “livable schedules”? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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