Seattle's secure scheduling law takes effect Saturday, requiring employers to post work schedules 14 days in advance. It comes after months of debate and passage by the city council.
Seattle estimates this law will impact 1,100 business in the city.
The law applies to retail and quick-service food establishments with more than 500 employees worldwide, and to full restaurants with 500-plus employees and 40 or more locations.
Though the law made its way mainly for the two-week posting of schedules, it also makes several other requirements.
The law requires employers to give employees, in writing, a good faith estimate of what hours they can expect at the time of their hiring. It requires at least 10 hours off for employees in between shifts, or the employer pays time and a half. It also gives scheduling preference to employees for major life activities, like for child care or health care needs.
Catharine Morisset is a partner at the Fisher Phillips Law Office in Seattle, and she has been educating employers about what they can expect with the new law.
“Employers need to get educated about the minutia because there are a lot of technical traps,” Morisset said.
Additionally, it gives scheduling preference for educational requests.
“One of the examples I gave when I had a training for my clients was, ‘I’m a server at a franchised restaurant that falls within the purview of the statute, and I want to go to computer animation school to be a computer animator.' That now gives me preference over a schedule if I need to change to be able to go to school,” Morisset said.
If an employer can’t honor that scheduling change, they must provide a written explanation of why it was turned down.
Morisset said there’s also another item catching employers off guard.
“One of the biggest ones that is most shocking to my clients and some other employers that I’ve spoken to is the requirement that you cannot add additional part-time workers without first offering the new shifts to your existing part-time workers,” Morisset said.
The city of Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards will be enforcing the new law. Anyone with questions should contact them at 206-684-4500.