The City of Seattle is gearing up for the Secure Scheduling Ordinance to take effect in July. Proposed rules have been issued and public comments are due today. Lane Powell has identified below the top 10 things that employers should know about the new law:

1. Only large retailers and food service establishments are covered by the law.

  • Retailers and food establishments with 500 or more employees worldwide
  • Full-service restaurants with more than 500 employees worldwide and 40 establishments globally

2. Not all employees are covered by the law.

  • Only employees who work at “fixed point-of-sale locations”
  • The City’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) has proposed rules extending this to employees who also work offsite if their work involves completing the sale (e.g., delivery drivers)

3. Covered employers must give advance notice of schedules.

  • Covered employers must post work schedules at least 14 days in advance
  • Schedules cannot be changed after being posted unless affected employees receive additional compensation (see below)
  • Covered employers must also give employees a written good faith estimate of their schedules and median number of work hours on an annual basis (or whenever the schedule significantly changes)

4. Covered employers must engage in an interactive process with their employees regarding schedule changes.

  • Whenever the good faith estimate significantly changes
  • When an employee asks to change his or her work schedule
  • Process must include a discussion between employer and employee of all relevant issues
  • Process must be completed within three weeks

5. Last-minute schedule changes will increase payroll costs.

  • Subject to limited exceptions, covered employers must pay additional compensation if:
    • Hours are added to employees’ posted work schedules
    • Dates or length of scheduled shifts change (even if the employee doesn’t lose any hours)
    • Scheduled shifts change

6. Clopening shifts are now voluntary.

  • Shifts less than ten hours apart (called clopenings) cannot be required
  • Employees must request or consent to work clopenings

7. Clopening shifts will increase payroll costs.

  • When an employee requests or consents to work clopenings, the employee must be paid time and a half for all hours worked less than 10 hours from the previous shift

8. Covered employers must grant employee schedule changes due to a major life event unless the employer has a bona fide business reason to deny it.

  • Major life events include another job, caregiver responsibilities, issues with transportation, or housing, school or health issues

9. Covered employers cannot hire externally unless they have already offered the hours to existing employees.

  • Hours must be posted internally for three days before hiring externally

10. Covered employers have only three months to get ready.

  • The city’s Scheduling Ordinance goes into effect on July 1
  • Covered employers need to update policies and provide training before then
  • Lane Powell has asked the City to consider a grace period but employers should not count on one and should start preparing now