We’ve been receiving reports that some right wing groups and big business lobbyists are trying to spread misinformation about the secure scheduling policies we are advocating for, how they would work, who they might apply to, and what the effects would be. We want to make sure everyone has accurate information about the issues and the policies which have been proposed, so below are some answers to the questions we’ve been hearing. If you have other questions, let us know!
Who would be covered by secure scheduling policies & why?
Workers at big national coffee, retail, and food chains have been calling for secure schedules for quite some time, which is why the city has proposed secure scheduling policies that apply to them. Workers in other industries and at smaller employers have raised scheduling concerns as well, but the issues are newer there, and more study may be needed to determine how best to improve practices in these other industries and at smaller companies. We encourage everyone who works in the city to join the conversation about how city policy may help improve their flexibility, balance, and access to hours.
How will this protect my ability to swap shifts?
Voluntary shift swaps are already a common practice at a lot of businesses, and nothing we are proposing would change that. Secure scheduling policies would further protect shift swapping by clarifying that predictability pay is not triggered by employee-initiated shift swaps. In addition, predictability pay won't be triggered if someone voluntarily picks up a shift in response to an employer's mass text, mass email or other mass communication about a shift that needs to be filled. These policies are designed to increase workers’ flexibility by protecting shift swapping and incentivizing employers to set up systems that make shift swapping easier.
Will these policies stop me from working split shifts or doubles?
Split shifts and doubles will not be affected in any way by the policies which have been proposed. The policies around clopening would only apply when two shifts are less than 10 hours apart and the second shift starts on a different day than the first shift started.
For example, if you work a Tuesday shift from 5pm - 1am, and the next shift starts on Wednesday morning at 9am, you’d have the right to decline the Wednesday shift because 9am is less than 10 hours after 1am, and Wednesday is a different day than Tuesday. If you agree to work the Wednesday shift, you’d also get overtime pay for the hours that are within that 10-hour window (in this case, the two hours between 9am and 11am). But again, none of this would apply to split shifts or doubles because that’s all on the same day.
What if I want to work a clopening shift?
If clopens work for you in your specific circumstances, you can work them if you choose to — it just can’t be required by your employer. You would have to voluntarily agree to work those hours, and you would also get overtime pay for those hours you work which are less than 10 hours after the end of the previous shift. (You wouldn’t get overtime pay for the entire shift, just for the hours in that time window.)
Why should the City even get involved with this?
More and more big chains are forcing employees to work irregular and unstable schedules that vary wildly from week to week — at the same time as they’re demanding 24/7 availability, even for part-time jobs. But workers need flexibility too: you can’t live your life on a few day’s notice, you can’t make a budget if you can’t predict your paycheck, and you can’t build a better future when you don’t have the flexibility you need to go back to school, get a second job, or start your own business. Just like with poverty wages, the corporations are moving in the wrong direction, so our elected officials need to step in to address this crisis.
What if I want to keep working part-time?
Many people prefer to maintain their overall flexibility by working part-time hours, and nothing about that will change. The “access to hours” policy which has been proposed is intended to increase opportunities for part-time workers who who want more hours — even if they still want to remain part-time.
The way it would work is that current employees would get a first shot at additional posted shifts they’re qualified to work. If no current employee wants the shifts, no problem, the company can move forward and hire additional employees. If more than one person wants to work the extra shifts, your employer could decide how to distribute the hours, as long as the process is transparent and non-discriminatory. And of course your employer wouldn’t have to give you the shifts if the additional hours would put you over 40 hours a week.
My store sometimes gets a lot more business unexpectedly if the weather changes or there’s a special event. What if last minute changes are just necessary?
Nobody can predict the future (or the weather) with 100% accuracy, and we all know that any business comes with some surprises. The advance notice and predictability pay in secure scheduling policy is meant to ensure that changes to the schedule only happen when they’re necessary, with some consideration of workers’ schedules too. Of course there are times when someone needs to get called in at the last minute because business demands it, and that’s fine — but that worker should receive some compensation for their flexibility. After all, a last-minute change in your work life means a last-minute change in the rest of your life too.
I don’t work in the service industry, how will this affect me?
Everyone benefits when more people have more secure schedules. Secure schedules give parents the opportunity to plan time with their kids so they can eat dinner together, go the park, or help with homework. Secure schedules give workers the opportunity to plan time to get a second job, go back to school, or start a a business. And secure schedules give neighbors the opportunity to plan the time to volunteer, live balanced lives, and participate in their communities.
Got another question? Fill out the form and we'll get you an answer. We have also posted an overview of the policies which have been proposed.