SF Supervisor Chiu Announces Legislation Promoting Predictable Work Hours for Hourly Workers

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Supervisor David Chiu today announced the introduction of city-wide legislation that, if enacted, will give thousands of hourly workers in the city of San Francisco 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) helped Supervisor Chiu convene a task force of business and worker advocates in order to better understand the impact of unpredictable schedules on San Francisco’s low-income families, and to make appropriate recommendations for addressing the problem. These combined efforts led to the introduction of today’s legislation—the first of its kind in the country.

Hourly, part-time work is on the rise across the country; 59 percent of all workers in the United States are paid hourly. Many of these workers get their schedules from their employers just a few days in advance, and sometimes that comes with a last-minute notice of reduced hours. For example, a recent piece in the New York Times described how workers in retail and restaurant jobs often find out at the last minute what their schedules will be, or if they will even work at all. For many hourly workers already struggling to get by on minimum wage, the number of hours their employer gives them each week determines whether they can pay the rent or not.

Unpredictable schedules also impact work-family balance, and significantly challenge single parents and families in which both parents are employed. According to a fact sheet prepared by Next Generation, half of hourly-paid working fathers and 45 percent of hourly-paid working mothers report having no input on their work schedules. Working parents with unpredictable schedules often have to depend on unreliable or multiple child-care settings in order to meet their needs.

Recommendations made by the predictable scheduling task force and the Coalition led to several important provisions in the new legislation that will strengthen the economic well-being of low-income San Franciscans. These include:

·         “Chain” stores in San Francisco—which account for 12 percent of all businesses and employ more than 35,000 workers—will be required to post schedules for their employees at least two weeks in advance.

·         If employers make changes to the workers’ posted schedule less than a week in advance, workers will receive one hour of usual pay in addition to the hours worked.

·         If employers make changes to the workers’ posted schedule less than 24 hours in advance, workers will receive between two and four hours of their usual pay in addition to the hours worked.

·         If employees require a worker to be “on-call” for a particular shift, but no longer need that worker to come into work for that shift, the worker will receive two to four hours of pay in addition to the hours worked.

·         Both part-time workers and full-time workers must be paid the same hourly rate for the same job.

·         Part-time workers cannot be treated worse than full-time workers with respect to time off or promotions.

“Many workers in San Francisco have to juggle multiple jobs consistently to make ends meet,” said Supervisor Chiu. “More predictable schedules will help workers achieve the stability and security they need so they can manage their jobs, their families and their lives.”

“A parent’s unpredictable schedule impacts not only the workers’ ability to financially provide for their families, but also to ensure that their children are well cared for when they are at work and that their children know when their parents will be there for them,” said Ann O’Leary, Vice President and Director of the Children & Families program at Next Generation. “Children need the stability brought about by a regular child care or afterschool setting, meals with their parents, a consistent bedtime, and their parents’ involvement in school activities. Scheduling practices that prevent workers from knowing when they’ll work next rob them of important opportunities to be dependable.”

“Without advance notice of a work schedule, it is impossible to plan for family obligations, from childcare, to accompanying an elderly relative to medical appointments, or attending classes,” said Julia Parish, attorney at Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center. “Workers often worry if they will be able to meet their families’ basic needs. Providing predictable schedules is a simple way to ensure that families can be there for one another.”  

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