San Francsico Expected to Pass First-In-The-Nation Legislation Promoting Predictable Schedules for Hourly Workers

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Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to pass the San Francisco Predictable Scheduling and Fair Treatment for Formula Retail Employees Ordinance—legislation that will give at least 35,000 hourly workers in the city of San Francisco, who work for major chain-stores, the predictable schedules and regular pay they need to secure their families’ well-being. The California Work & Family Coalition, a project of Next Generation, and the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) advised city supervisors in developing the legislation, helping to convene a task force of business and worker advocates to better understand the impact that unpredictable schedules have on San Francisco’s low-income families.

In a unanimous vote last week, city supervisors agreed to pass the ordinance with only a few amendments. Today’s vote is the last step before the ordinance heads to the Mayor for signature.

The ordinance is the first of its kind in the country, and will help ease the burden on San Francisco’s low-wage, hourly retail workers—many of whom must juggle childcare duties and caregiving responsibilities with unpredictable work schedules and income. Workers like Sandra Herrera report that they get their work schedules from their employers just a few days in advance, and find it extremely difficult to arrange childcare for their children. Monthly income is just as difficult to manage, since work schedules are often reduced at the last minute and employees are left unable to make ends meet or even take on a second job.

“Since the Great Recession, we have seen a growth in our economy resulting in more jobs, but they are primarily low-wage jobs that come with unpredictable schedules,” said Ann O’Leary, Vice President and Director of the Children & Families program at Next Generation. “This ordinance will help ensure that San Francisco’s hourly workers who work for major chain-stores can have a little more say in their work hours, and will encourage employers to maintain a better balance for employees and their families.”

“Taking care of basic needs like scheduling prenatal care appointments is nearly impossible without advance notice of your schedule.  Workers are unable to enroll in college courses or pursue second jobs if they don’t know when they’ll be working,” said Julia Parish, attorney at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center.  “This ordinance is an historic and significant victory for working families, alleviating stress in workers’ lives by enabling them to meet their obligations outside of work.”

According to a research brief prepared by Next Generation and the LAS-ELC, hourly, part-time work is on the rise across the country; 59 percent of all workers in the United States are paid hourly and many of these workers get their schedules from their employers just a few days in advance. Furthermore, about half of hourly-paid working parents report having no input on their work schedules and must depend on unreliable or multiple child-care settings in order to meet their caregiving needs.

Community and labor advocates will gather today at noon at City Hall in support of the new legislation, and to share personal stories from workers whose lives will benefit from the new law.

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About California Work & Family Coalition
The California Work & Family Coalition, a project of Next Generation, is an alliance of community organizations, unions and non-profits protecting every California worker’s right to put their family first. We work together to promote work family policies that help parents, caregivers, children and families thrive.

Learn more at www.workfamilyca.org and on Twitter @WorkFamilyCA.

About Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
Founded in 1916, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center protects the rights and economic self-sufficiency of low-income workers by providing free legal services, education and advocacy. LAS-ELC’s Work and Family Program advocates for the employment rights of pregnant workers, new parents and employees facing family medical crises. 

Learn more at www.las-elc.org and on Twitter @LASELC.

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