SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved a new law designed to give hourly retail and food-service workers more predictability in their scheduling.

The measure approved Monday afternoon requires that large employers schedule shifts 14 days in advance, pay workers extra for certain last-minute scheduling changes and offer hours to existing employees before hiring new staff, among other provisions.

Councilwoman Lisa Herbold, a prime sponsor of the legislation, says the city is again a national leader in workers' rights. Herbold said the city took seven months studying the issue and talked with more than 50 employers.

"This will ensure needs and predictability," said Herbold.

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez says the city will continue to study the issue, which leaves the door open for changes in two years.

"These are not small mom and pop businesses that will be affected by this," said Gonzalez.

Seattle is the second major U.S. city behind San Francisco to pass such scheduling legislation.

Supporters say it would address the erratic schedules and fluctuating work hours that make it difficult for worker to juggle school, family life and plan a future.

Some business and business groups have criticized the proposal, calling it too restrictive and burdensome and saying it would create less flexibility for workers.