Potential New Legislation for Oregon Businesses
ORLA is tracking a number of bills being introduced in the 2017 Legislative Session, but one in particular threatens Oregon’s flexible scheduling practices.
Our position: Workers and employers should be able to deal with unexpected life events, changes to shifts due to weather, and be able to adjust schedules as needed due to marketplace demands. Flexible schedules throughout Oregon benefits both employees and employers who are proven to prefer current scheduling policies compared to any new government mandate. Restrictive scheduling will obstruct the freedoms enjoyed by workers across Oregon’s hospitality industry by creating new penalties on employers.
Two cities, San Francisco and Seattle, recently passed laws regarding restrictive scheduling. Although San Francisco’s was passed in November 2014, it was not implemented until March 1, 2016. Seattle passed their version in early September 2016 and it is expected to take effect as of July 2017.
In Seattle, employers are required to:
- Give good-faith estimates of hours an employee can expect to work upon hiring
- Post work schedules two weeks in advance. During that two-week schedule:
- Provide at least 10 hours of rest between opening and closing shifts
- If the gap between closing and opening shift is less than 10 hours, employers are required to pay time-and-a-half for any difference (i.e. If there is only an 8-hour gap between shifts, the employer would be required to pay 2 hours of time-and-a-half to the employee)
- Offer available hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new workers
- Pay additional “predictability pay” when employers make changes to the posted schedule
There is no additional pay involved if:
- Employees request changes to a schedule
- Employees find replacement coverage for hours through a shift swap
- An employer provides notice of additional hours through mass communication and receives a volunteer to cover hours
The measure also requires employers to keep records for three years, documenting everything from responses to employee requests for schedule changes to good-faith estimates of the number of hours an employee could expect to work. Unionized workers could negotiate an alternative for secure scheduling through a collective bargaining agreement.
This is important because Portland City Council has expressed a desire for a restrictive scheduling ordinance for several years. Because of ORLA’s efforts, a statewide preemption on restrictive scheduling was passed in 2015 in the Legislature. That preemption is in place until August 31, 2017 or when the 2017 Legislature adjourns if they take no action on restrictive scheduling, whichever comes first.
Recently, Portland City Council passed a resolution affirming their desire for restrictive scheduling if the Legislature does not act. The resolution showcases Portland’s desire to move forward with similar regulations but the resolution itself is simply ceremonial expressing an intent to move forward with new regulations for employers in Portland.
Several members testified to Portland City Council that restrictive scheduling, on top of the other regulations and laws recently passed including paid sick leave, minimum wage increases, retirement savings plan and federal overtime regulation changes, are crippling restaurants and forcing owners and employers to seriously look at whether they can continue to operate in this anti-business environment.
This is an issue the Legislature is interested in taking up in the 2017 session and one we will be watching closely and asking for your help in the coming months to try and defeat. Stay posted as more details will be made available as to how you can make a difference in fighting against restrictive scheduling as we prepare for the 2017 Legislative Session. | Greg Astley, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association