The PJ Tatler

'Fair Scheduling' Laws Are New Trend in Labor Regulation

You’d have to be nuts to open a business in Minneapolis. That’s the sentiment from Sue Jeffers, local radio talk show host and former owner of a bar in the city. She commented in response to a new proposal by the mayor and city council to regulate employee scheduling through ordinance. MPR News reports:

Under the draft proposal, employers would [be required to create employee work schedules four weeks in advance and] have to compensate workers for any unexpected schedule changes. Mayor Betsy Hodges and key members of the City Council want to make Minneapolis the second city in the country with a so-called “fair scheduling” rule.

Employees whose schedules were changed with less than four weeks notice would need to be paid for an additional hour of work. Schedule changes with less than 24 hours notice would result in an extra four hours’ worth of pay. Employees would also have to pay time-and-a-half for shifts scheduled within 16 hours of a previous shift, or for each hour worked beyond eight in a single shift.

Businesses in Minneapolis have responded with incredulity and outrage:

Allina Health put out a statement saying, quote, “flu epidemics, disease and accidents do not necessarily adhere to predictable daily patterns,” and that “rigid scheduling regulations” are inconsistent with responding to those medical needs.

Nick Rancone employs 55 people at two Nicollet Avenue restaurants — Revival and Corner Table. He says predicting right now how many servers he’ll need in late October is impossible.

“So we’re saying that if I have a patio that I’m trying to staff, it’s like it might snow at the end of this month, right? So if we get snow at the end of October, obviously I’m not going to have anybody who’s going to want to dine on the patio,” Rancone said.

The predictable result of such regulation will be fewer jobs in Minneapolis. Like the minimum wage, such regulation will artificially increase the cost of doing business, push some establishments out of business and suppress the development of new businesses.

The real losers under such an ordinance will be the aspiring worker. Gone will be opportunities to work extra hours toward a particular goal. Instead of dealing with one schedule at a single employer, aspiring workers in need of extra cash will have to pick up multiple jobs and deal with scheduling conflicts.