ORLA Position Letter on Restrictive Scheduling

HB 2193 and SB 828 both place restrictive scheduling requirements on employers with unfair and costly penalties for non-compliance. Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is opposed to both of these measures.

Surveys have shown employees come to work in the hospitality industry specifically because of the flexibility of schedules and the ability to go to school, spend time with family or work another job that is not during traditional workday hours. Maintaining flexibility with scheduling actually results in employees having more hours to work and/or more flexibility for time off requests to be accommodated.

Employers need the flexibility in scheduling to deal with unpredictable markets, weather, large scale social or sporting events and employees who call in sick or fail to show up for a shift.

Both bills will make it particularly challenging for the restaurant community given that many external factors, beyond the control of restaurant operators, can have significant impacts on the operations on any given day. 

Weather – Last winter’s ice and snow storms resulted in fewer customers which means operators didn’t need as many staff and had less revenue to pay workers. Under these bills, employers would have been required to have staff report or face penalties for cancelling shifts. Further, requiring workers to come in and work when travel conditions are hazardous rather than allow employers to cancel shifts is dangerous and unsafe for employees.

Protests – Ongoing protests in the Portland area resulted in businesses closing their doors and employees staying home. Employers would rather workers stay home and be safe than risk coming to work and being harassed or victimized by violent protesters. Under these bills, employers would be penalized for trying to keep employees safe from harm.

Sporting Events
 – Often, there is little to no warning if a sporting event may draw a large crowd or a small one. In the case of March Madness for example, the University of Oregon is likely a high seed this year so a bar or restaurant owner may increase staff hours during the tournament in anticipation of more customers watching the Ducks win and go far. If they lose in the first round however, fewer customers are likely to come in and fewer staff are needed.

The bills fail to consider when customers cancel large party reservations with little notice or when large parties call in for last-minute reservations, which both require substantial adjustments to staffing opportunities. There are also unexpected instances where large parties come in to celebrate special occasions, sports victories, school dances and other occasions without notice or reservations.

While the hospitality industry opposes HB 2193 and SB 828, we support SB 544 which provides consistent government standards across the entire state of Oregon for private sector businesses as it relates to benefits beyond wages and salaries. We also support SB 329, which would extend the state preemption on local governments regulating work schedule requirements. These two bills would provide the certainty and consistency necessary to run a successful business in Oregon for both employees and employers.