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The Seattle Restrictive Scheduling

Seattle adopts restrictive retail scheduling.

On Sept. 19, 2016, the Seattle City Council approved a restrictive scheduling ordinance applying to some retailers and restaurants by a 9 to 0 vote. The ordinance requires employers to post work schedules two weeks in advance and levies fines for violations. The Washington Retail Association opposed the ordinance and warned that it would harm employees by reducing available work hours and leaving workers with more restrictive schedules that would be harder to adjust for emergencies or other conflicts outside of work. The law will apply to large retailers with 500 or more employees and to full-service restaurants with both 500 or more employees and 40 or more locations nationwide. It does not cover smaller companies or other industries. This page includes explanatory documents that cover the background of this issue including news coverage prior to the council vote. Content will be changed as relevant documents are updated and as the ordinance heads to Mayor Ed Murray for signature and to city staff for the formal rule-making review.

WRA President/CEO, Jan Teague, Speaks to KOMO News About Restrictive Scheduling

WRA getting media coverage on restrictive scheduling issue


Two Seattle newspapers and a radio station have responded with coverage in recent days of WRA’s effort to slow down discussions by the City Council to pass a mandated scheduling ordinance.

The Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal have carried stories and John Carlson, KVI radio talk show host, interviewed CEO Jan Teague this morning about WRA’s request that the City Council put more effort into understanding the harm such as law would do to Seattle retailers.

A draft of the ordinance is expected to be introduced later this month before a public hearing and possible votes by the council on whether to approve it. It would target larger retailers and require that work schedules be posted weeks in advance. Employers would face fines if they needed to change schedules for any reason.

WRA has warned that employers would likely respond by reducing hours and therefore the wages of hourly employees if such an ordinance were enacted.

WRA has sent letters to Mayor Ed Murray and City Council members asking them to slow down their plans to allow retailers more time to explain the damage such as ordinance would do to employers, employees and customers. Retailers and employees would be hurt financially while customers would likely see reduced services due to reduce hours for employees.

In her radio interview, Teague said a survey done for the city of Seattle retail employees indicated that 80 percent of them were content with scheduling practices and work hours.

“I think we need a lot more time on this,” Teague said. “The council doesn’t need to rush.”

With more time, Teague said, retailers could outline the complexity of scheduling and how conflicts most often are getting worked out already, without an ordinance.

She also urged Seattle businesses to contact council members to express their concern about a mandate scheduling ordinance.

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