Seattle council members want to mandate 'livable' work schedules

Worker advocates say the idea is to prevent employers from commanding tight turnarounds and not giving enough notice on when an employee must work.

SEATTLE -- Two Seattle City Council members are promising to go after companies they say do not offer consistent or livable schedules for employees. The fast food industry is the main target.

Worker advocates say the idea is to prevent employers from commanding tight turnarounds and not giving enough notice on when an employee must work.

Councilwomen Lisa Herbold and Lorena Gonzalez were part of an online forum Thursday night with a worker advocacy group called Working Washington. The councilwomen heard from employees of Starbucks and Domino's Pizza who described inconsistent schedules that fail to offer any type of predictability.

Both Herbold and Gonzalez said they will work on legislation requiring employers to be more considerate to employees. They also said they know workers' struggles, having worked in the fast food and restaurant industry as young adults.

Seattle is not alone in considering this type of change. Legislative bodies in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis are also proposing livable schedule regulations. San Francisco already regulates schedules.

More government control isn't popular with everyone. The Seattle Times reports concerns from the state's restaurant association over what government restrictions will mean for schedule flexibility for its members and customers.

The schedule regulation push at Seattle City Hall is just the latest in a series of workplace reforms. The council recently passed paid sick-time standards and a higher minimum wage.


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