February 6, 2019

Employers share concerns over predictive scheduling bill

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
Small business owner Lisa Castro of Moses Lake testifies against House Bill 1491 on Tuesday before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. (Photo: Brian Temple/AWB)

Small business owners and restaurant workers spoke out Tuesday against a new bill that would require many companies to give workers their schedules 14 days in advance.

Supporters of House Bill 1491 said the measure would create a better quality of life for workers, but opponents raised concerns that the measure goes too far, and restricts the freedom and flexibility enjoyed by many restaurant workers and small business owners.

Lisa Castro is the manager of a UPS store in Moses Lake. Running a small business allows her to both provide for her family and take care of her daughter’s medical needs, which can be unpredictable.

“No other job would allow me to do what I do as a small business owner,” Castro told the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.

The measure could also limit her ability to offer that flexibility to her employees.

Simone Barron of the Full Service Workers Alliance is also opposed to the measure. She said she’s been in the restaurant business for 33 years, and it’s flexible enough to allow her to spend time with her child. And, the restaurant industry offers opportunities to earn more money in a short period of time.

“That is imperative to raising a child,” she said after the hearing.

The measure’s prime sponsor is Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle.

Macri said she was compelled to sponsor the bill after hearing from employees in her district and across the state about “the growing challenges people have in balancing their work lives with the growing stresses of personal life,” from taking care of family members to working multiple jobs.

The bill also requires employers to grant worker requests for schedule changes, under certain conditions. And, employers would have to give additional work hours to existing employees before hiring outside of the company.

AWB’s Bob Battles told the committee the bill seems to be confused as to what it applies to, and there are concerns around flexibility for employees, as well as temp agencies.

“This doesn’t exempt them,” Battles said. “Yet by definition temporary agencies are designed to schedule people on a daily basis with new jobs.”

AWB's Bob Battles testifies in the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee on Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo: Brian Temple/AWB)
Battles is following the predictive scheduling issue and others throughout the 2019 Legislature. To learn more or get involved, please contact Battles at 360.943.1600 or BobB@awb.org.