Seattle workers make plans to celebrate a year of secure scheduling: "I can be home with my kid when I need to"

One-year anniversary of Seattle's secure scheduling law arrives Sunday July 1st

Tens of thousands of workers seeing more advance notice, more reliable hours, and more flexible, balanced lives

Coffee, food, and retail workers across Seattle may have plans this weekend. That's because Sunday July 1st marks the one-year anniversary of the day the city's landmark secure scheduling law took effect — and thanks to the law, workers know when they're going to work, and how many hours they're going to get. 

"Secure scheduling means I can be home with my kid when I need to — without my boss being able to change it in the snap of the fingers," explains Merlee Sherman, a parent and fast food courier. "As a human being, I have goals, I have appointments, I have other interests, I have a whole other life outside of work. Parenthood requires me to know what’s coming up in my life before it happens. When I know my schedule, I am able to build a life of quality."

Seattle's landmark secure scheduling law took effect July 1, 2017. For a year it's been changing lives by ensuring that people who work for a large coffee, food, and retail chain in the city receive balanced, flexible schedules, including:

  • Two weeks' notice of your schedule
  • Predictability pay if your employer adds, cuts, or changes scheduled shifts
  • No mandatory "clopens" (back-to-back closing and opening shifts that are less than 10 hours apart)
  • Access to additional hours for current employees before new shifts are posted  
  • Good faith estimate of your hours & input into your schedule

“My schedule was definitely more flimsy before secure scheduling went into effect," reports Aubrie, an aspiring ASL interpreter and Starbucks barista. "Once it went into effect, it was like: oh, I’m actually going to get the hours I asked for instead of settling for 10 hours less? Getting the hours I need means I can count on my paycheck. I always have enough money to buy groceries and save whatever’s left.”

Seattle's passage of secure scheduling ignited a nationwide movement that helped lead to workers winning secure scheduling laws in Emeryville, CA; New York City; and Oregon; and major progress in Philadelphia, Connecticut, and beyond. 

As the Supreme Court and the federal government show increasing hostility to workers rights, the series of groundbreaking advances won by Seattle workers are showing that another path is possible: powerful worker organizations, higher labor standards, and a thriving economy. And just like what happened with minimum wage and paid sick days, workers across Washington State and across the country are seeing the impact of secure scheduling in Seattle and looking to make change in their jobs too. 

"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. 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," recalled Emily, a student and retail salesperson. "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. For me and a couple other coworkers, it meant moving up to full-time hours.This made a huge difference for me."

More information:

  • Secure scheduling is the first new labor standard to address weekly work schedules since overtime pay became law in the 1930s. The secure scheduling law covers coffee, fast food, and retail workers who work within the Seattle city limits and are employed by companies or chains with more than 500 global employees. Full-service restaurant workers are covered if they work for companies or chains with more than 500 global employees and more than 40 global locations. More details are available on our website.
  • Two reports issued earlier this year — the Seattle scheduling “baseline” report and the Gap "stable scheduling" study — show the extent of scheduling issues workers face, and the potential for policy change to have a positive impact on workers, their families, their communities... and the businesses where they work. As one manager said: “If you want to have a well functioning team... you need to treat them like they’re a human being.”
  • The city's Office of Labor Standards enforces the secure scheduling law, in conjunction with community partners including the Fair Work Center and the Fair Work Collaborative.


Contact: Sage Wilson, Working Washington:

Working Washington is the voice for workers in our state. Working Washington fast food strikers sparked the fight that won Seattle’s first-in-the-nation $15 minimum wage. Working Washington baristas and fast food workers led the successful campaign for secure scheduling in Seattle, and our members across the state helped drive forward Initiative 1433 to raise the minimum wage and provide paid sick days. We successfully drove Amazon to sever ties with the right-wing lobby group ALEC and improve conditions in their sweatshop warehouses, and got Starbucks to address inequities in their corporate parental leave policy. And we made history once again with the landmark statewide paid family leave law passed last year. For more information, including our press kit, visit