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National Restaurant Association - Would scheduling rules affect hiring in Washington, D.C.?

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Would scheduling rules affect hiring in Washington, D.C.?

A restrictive new scheduling proposal in Washington, D.C., could reduce job growth for the District’s restaurant industry, the National Restaurant Association said at a hearing.

The Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015 pending in the D.C. City Council would apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more stores and retail operations of at least five locations. The bill would:

  • require employers  to post work schedules 21 days in advance and pay employees for up to four hours if the schedule changes.
     
  • require a revised written schedule within 24 hours when changes are made.
     
  • require excessive recordkeeping of every shift for three years.
     
  • require employers to offer available work to already employed, qualified staff before hiring new employees or subcontractors.

The mandate would force restaurants to make fundamental changes to hiring practices, said Mike Whatley, the NRA’s director of state and local government affairs. Whatley testified before the Council’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “Those changes could result in fewer people being hired to work at restaurants in the District and operators understaffing their restaurants.”

A similar mandate in San Francisco resulted in “extreme confusion” among affected restaurant operators, Whatley testified. The San Francisco ordinance originally passed in 2014, but took effect last July. However, it is not yet fully enforced because of the confusion.

“San Francisco’s requirements are burdensome and call for extensive and often repetitive paperwork,” Whatley said.  One of the most time-consuming tasks for managers has been ensuring time records match posted schedules exactly. “If they don’t, the manager must figure out why and solve it.”

The provisions in the D.C. proposal go even further than in San Francisco, he added. The DC bill would require businesses to post employee schedules three weeks in advance, compared with two weeks in San Francisco.

Whatley, who testified along with representatives for the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the Buffalo Wild Wings chain, urged city council members to wait for the results in San Francisco before moving forward in the District.

The Washington, D.C., bill is one of several scheduling mandates currently under consideration in state and local legislatures. A similar bill is also pending in Congress.

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