Supe Chiu Introduces Ordinance to Provide Chain Store Employees with Predictable Schedules

A new city ordinance introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today could provide part-time hourly employees working at chain stores in San Francisco with more predictable schedules and incomes.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu announced the legislation today saying that the ordinance, if enacted, would be the first in the country to require predictable schedules and provide compensation to part-time workers for last-minute schedule changes made by employers.

The legislation is the second part to the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance that passed last year allowing employees to request flexible or predictable working arrangements in order to assist with caregiving responsibilities, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources.

Chiu said the issue of predictable schedules didn’t make it into the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance but said that over the last year a Predictable Scheduling Task Force representing laborers, working families, and employers convened to specifically address the topic.

Chiu said the working group found that “unpredictable schedules and last-minute on-call practices threaten economic security” as well as create work-family conflicts and undermine workers’ well-being.

Chiu said chain stores, defined as employers with 20 or more employees and with at least 11 locations nationwide, have the ability to provide schedules with greater predictability to their employees, but don’t have incentive to do so.

Chiu said the group heard from part-time workers who “can’t tell their families in any given week when they will work and how much they will earn.”

The working group also heard presentations from experts in labor practices such as Dr. Susan Lambert from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Lambert drew attention to nationwide labor issues that result due to erratic schedules and explained to the working group how San Francisco workers are negatively impacted by unpredictable and unstable work hours.

If enacted, the ordinance would require about 1,250 establishments in the city, which make up about 5 percent of the city’s workforce, to provide their workers with schedules two weeks in advance. The employers would also be required to issue predictable pay to workers for any last-minute schedule changes.

Additionally, the ordinance would require large employers to provide part-time workers with equal access to promotions, pay and time-off as full-time employees receive.

The ordinance would impact over 35,000 employees in San Francisco, Chiu said.

According to the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, aside from state and federal labor laws, there are only two citywide labor laws that must be followed by all employers in San Francisco: the Minimum Wage Ordinance and the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

In addition to the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, two citywide labor laws apply to all employers with 20 or more employees: the Health Care Security Ordinance, which requires employers to spend a minimum amount on health care for employees, and the Fair Chance Ordinance, requiring employers to review an individual’s qualifications before inquiring about their arrest and conviction records.

The ordinance was applauded by numerous organizations today, including Next Generation, which works to promote policies that have a positive impact on children and families.

Jobs With Justice San Francisco, a workers’ rights alliance also lauded the ordinance’s introduction.

The alliance’s executive director Gordon Mar said, “This legislation demonstrates real progress in the fight to confront the sharp economic inequality plaguing too many people in our community.”

He echoed the sentiments of both San Francisco supervisors Chiu and Eric Mar who said today that a higher minimum wage alone is not enough to survive in San Francisco.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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