Employee Scheduling

In the 2019 Legislative session, the Legislature considered but did not take final action on bills that would have mandated scheduling regulations on retailers across the state. The bills were similar to a burdensome Seattle ordinance that requires retailers to lock into schedules two weeks in advance, promote from within first before being able to hire from outside and imposes fines for violations. The Seattle ordinance also requires that three years worth of schedules and changes be kept on file for inspection by City Hall.

WR believes this regulation discourages the flexibility required in retail to meet the needs of employees and the service expectations of customers. Employees often swap shifts to be able to honor appointments or attend school functions. Under scheduling regulations, workers often must provide availability 21 days in advance in order to complete a schedule 14 days in advance. This not only is impractical but impossible for many employees.

Such rigidity is simply out of touch with a fluid retail environment. Sick calls, weather surprises, sales and surprise or delayed deliveries often bear upon schedules. Faced with financial penalties, retailers will reduce hours as a hedge against the possibility of fines for making needed adjustments to schedules. Scheduling regulations also reduce opportunities for students, who desire flexibility, to obtain entry-level jobs.

Because of these complications and others, WR is working to introduce legislation in 2020 to allow the schedule flexibility that employees need and deserve. Such flexibility also would enable retailers to continue ensuring quality customer service as needs change. WR’s contact for more information on this issue is contract lobbyist Bruce
Beckett at 360-480-5258 or bbeckett@thebeckettgoup.com.