City Council unanimously passes Seattle secure scheduling law

by | September 23, 2016


Last Monday the Seattle City Council passed (9-0) a “Secure Scheduling” Ordinance that is sure to shake things up (again!) in the world of labor and employment. We are just understanding how other recent City legislation works in light of the 2016 Labor Standards Amendments that made changes to Paid Sick and Safe and Wage Theft ordinances. And don’t forget the Minimum Wage ordinance as well! What we do know so far regarding “Secure Scheduling” is that the ordinance is highly controversial. Here’s why:

The ordinance applies to retail establishments with 500 employees or more worldwide, limited and quick service establishments with 500 employees or more world-wide, and full service restaurants with at least 500 employees and at least 40 establishments world-wide. The ordinance covers hourly, non-exempt employees who work 50% of the time or more in Seattle. Employers must provide employees: a good-faith estimate of hours, right to rest between shifts or increased compensation for failure to provide an adequate break, compensation for work schedule changes, access to hours for existing employees, and 14 days advance notice of schedule. The new law prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising their rights under the law. Finally, employers must keep detailed records of schedules and schedule request, and schedule changes for three years.

The ordinance will come into effect in July 2017. Enforcement, like with other Seattle labor regulations, will be left to the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. There will be rules and guidelines issued before July 2017 that will help to explain some of the unanswered questions in the ordinance. Seattle is only the second major city (behind San Francisco) to attempt this. For us at Equinox, we are particularly interested in what this might mean for non-covered employers down the road. Will these mandates (eventually) become standard for all employers in Seattle? What would this mean for the business climate in Seattle? Stay tuned!