Q. What is Reliable Scheduling?

Reliable Scheduling is a joint project of UFCW Western States Council and the California Labor Federation to pass legislation to provide important protections for retail workers. Our efforts are aimed at giving workers fair notice of their schedules so they can better plan both their lives and their incomes. It would also require employers to pay set minimums in case of last minute changes.

Q. Why is this important?

Right now, there are no protections for hourly workers in retail in terms of changes to their schedule. That means employers have no obligation to set schedules a reasonable time in advance – and can make last minute changes that dramatically impact the lives of workers.

According to a new study from the University of Chicago more than 40% of hourly workers get a week or less notice on their schedules. For service workers, this number jumps to 48%.

Another report from the Retail Action Project (RAP) shows that many workers are scheduled for on-call shifts, often learning only a few hours before the shift starts if they will be working. Some workers report being sent home early during shifts if they begin to approach 40 hours a week or if sales are slow on a particular day.

This means it is almost impossible for workers to plan the rest of their lives – daycare, personal appointments, schooling – as they may be called into work at any moment. It also means they can’t even plan their monthly budgets as their shifts can be cancelled or shortened at any time. The New York Times did a terrific piece last year highlighting why this is such a big problem for so many workers.

Fair schedules are just that – fair for both workers and employers. Right now too many workers are left with all the risk for scheduling changes that are made by employers.

Q. Who is responsible right now for sudden changes in job schedules?

In the retail industry, the employee bears the full burden of changes to his or her schedule – even though often it is the employer who is unilaterally making those changes.

Right now if a supervisor doesn’t plan well or makes last minute changes, it’s the employee who literally and figuratively pays the price. We believe employers should be required to provide reasonable notice and compensation to workers, both to encourage better scheduling practices (and help workers plan their lives!) and to provide more stable overall compensation.

Q. What would the bill do?

The legislation, “Reliable Scheduling Act (SB 878),” authored by State Senator Connie Leyva, would require employers of a restaurant, grocery or retail store establishment to provide a work schedule listing all shifts for all employees for at least 21 consecutive days at least seven days prior to the first shift on that work schedule.

Q. Who would be covered by the bill?

The bill applies to employers of a restaurant, grocery or retail establishment.

Q. What if an employee cancels and another worker is asked to step in? Does the employer still have to pay for a change that is out of her power?

No. We understand that if one worker is asked to cover for another worker, that is out of the employer’s control and those situations are exempt from the pay requirements listed above.

Q. Who supports this legislation?

The bill is authored by Senator Connie Leyva.

It is supported by dozens of community organizations including:

•California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO (sponsor)•California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union • California Conference of Machinists • California Employment Lawyers Association • California Professional Fire Fighters • California Teamsters Public Affairs Council • Engineer & Scientis of California, Local 20, IFPTE Local 20, AFL-CIO • International Longshore and Warehouse Union • Professional & Technical Engineers, IFPTE Local 21, AFL-CIO • UNITE HERE, AFL-CIO • Utilities Workers Union of America, Local 132, AFL-CIO • Voices for Progress

Q. How can I help?

Join our campaign to Schedule Fairness by signing our petition and signing up for email updates.

And you can support us online by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.