By Jan Teague, President/CEO
This week retailers held a conference call to discuss a new concern over possible restrictions on their work schedule practices. A few states have begun to push on them, saying that it’s not fair to expect employees to come in or be told they don’t have to work on short notice.
If our society doesn’t allow business to use its labor force as needed, it is asking for the quickest road to economic disaster. Costs will be out of control. I see price increases ahead for retail goods and services.
Retailers spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what the best times are to staff up. They also try to figure out how weather plays into their staffing levels. And now, with the low unemployment rate, they are working to find and keep good employees by offering adequate work hours, pay and benefits that compete with what others are offering.
New York wants to do an analysis on workers’ well-being around this scheduling issue. They should study how their own workers think about their well-being. I wonder sometimes just how far government will go. Clearly it’s hard for business to keep up with government’s full-time professional regulators.
I can understand why there has been growing popularity in the past decade for the Tea Party movement. In a way, it stems from what many feel is government oppression. This issue seems very oppressive and I wonder how many store owners will get mad over it. It could push the independent swing voter more to the right.
I like to report on consumer confidence and watch it fairly closely. If prices go up and people can’t afford to buy things they need and want, we have lower consumer confidence, which in turn impacts everything that makes our economy run smoothly.
As I like to point out, moving slowly on change is the only way to keep the economy on an upward path. Let’s hope for considered reasoning on this issue.
You will read more about scheduling practices because both California and New York are working on it. I also think it won’t be long before government regulators with more liberal leanings start to take a look at laws around worker “well being.” Scheduling is a big deal, but it’s likely just the tip of the iceberg.