June 2016
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June 2016
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Seattle City Council Looks to Regulate Scheduling
Sunday, June 5, 2016

Seattle was recently in the headlines for raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than double the federally mandated $7.25. Now city lawmakers are looking to make the workplace even more equitable for hourly workers by setting regulations for employee scheduling. According to advocates, retail and food service workers in particular often face unpredictable schedules, which leads to conflicts with their personal lives and their managers. While these advocates say that regulating scheduling practices would benefit workers who often have to juggle different jobs on top of their various personal obligations, businesses worry that the regulations would be burdensome and inflexible. A few ideas being considered include two weeks' advance notice of schedules, a minimum of 11 hours' rest between shifts unless a worker explicitly requests to work with less, an hour compensation if an employer changes an already set schedule, and four hours’ worth of pay for shifts that are canceled or reduced to less than four hours with less than a day’s notice. However, not all are receptive to the idea. In an email to city council member M. Lorena Gonzalez, retired Starbucks president Howard Behar wrote, “I now am questioning if you are trying to help people or just penalize businesses for being in business,” adding, “I am disgusted with this city government.”

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