A group of New York-based advocacy organizations is pressuring lawmakers to regulate the way small businesses schedule their employees.
The group is calling for mandatory scheduling two-weeks in advance for retail, food and other workers in similar service businesses. Fair Workweek Initiative Director Carrie Gleason said a law that would ban on-call scheduling and require weeks of advanced scheduling would give service workers stability. "We all deserve to have some notice of how many hours and when we're working so we can take care of our families," she said.
The initiative, founded by a number of New York-based groups, said more than 75 million Americans are hourly workers that have to deal with fluctuating schedules.
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Rob Karr of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association said employees of these small businesses take those jobs for the flexible schedule. "You have to be very careful about the unintended consequences," he said. "You end up taking away the flexibility that workers desire and the options they desire. You will have incidences arise that may cause changes. Truck schedule changes, natural disasters, even sporting event changes in metro areas would require scheduling changes as well."
Karr said that the practice of on-call scheduling is very rare and that the few employers who did it have stopped due to public pressure.
A federal bill proposing some of the same limits was filed in 2015 by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, but has not been passed. In April, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined with a number of other Attorneys' General to call for the end of on-call scheduling.
Illinois wage laws require businesses to pay employees for on-call hours as if they're actively working.