When I first started my retail sales job in April 2016, my hours were fluctuating a lot. Some weeks I would work four hours, and other weeks I’d work 25. It all depended on the season and my managers’ needs. Everyone in the store was scheduled for part-time hours except the managers. That was just the way they did things.
It was really difficult to survive with that kind of work schedule — I was always asking my manager for more hours, asking if I could be put on the schedule more, asking if I could get a full 8-hour shift — and their response was always “no.” We only got about five days’ notice of our work schedules, so it was hard to plan our lives out. I couldn’t depend on stable pay at my job, and I couldn’t get a second job because I never knew when I’d be working. I was in school too, and between my classes and my fluctuating hours, I ended up depending on my parents a lot just to get by.
When I heard about the new secure scheduling ordinance in Seattle, I was really excited. It was finally a chance to get a set schedule and some consistency. After the law went into effect in July, our managers sat down with each of us one on one and created a schedule based on our personal schedules outside of work. Some people had other full-time jobs, so they were scheduled on the weekends; a couple other people were offered at least 25 hours/week; and for me and a couple other coworkers, it meant moving up to full-time hours. One of my coworkers had been working three different jobs before secure scheduling, and afterwards she was finally able to get a steady 40-hour schedule, so she was able to quit her other two jobs, which was a huge relief for her.
I started getting scheduled for at least 30 hours every week and getting my schedule two weeks in advance. This made a huge difference for me. I was able to rely on my parents less and take care of my own rent and bills, and still have enough time to take my online marketing classes. I was able to do more things: save more money, buy better food, even travel. If I needed to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I knew I’d have Sunday and Thursday off, so I could schedule it then — something I wasn’t able to do when I was getting my schedule five days in advance.
From my perspective, secure scheduling is good for workers and good for business. Management expressed some difficulties understanding it at first, but from what I saw, they were able to talk to each person and set up a system that was more organized and more structured. It gave the employees more stability, which in turn made us want to be there more, knowing our time was more valuable than just four hours a week. Consistency is important for a lot of people, and secure scheduling provides workers like me with more stability and the ability to plan our lives.