Whats Your Opinion

Take a look at what lawmakers are trying to do now


LANSING, MI – Unpredictable work schedules leave some Michigan workers juggling last-minute shifts with childcare and transportation, something Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, is hoping to change.

SB 1112 mainly targets workers in the retail, food service and cleaning industries. It would require an employer to schedule a worker at least 24 hours in advance, or else pay the worker for an extra hour. Employees who work split shifts would be paid for one additional hour. Employees whose scheduled shifts end unexpectedly early would be paid for at least four hours of work.
“Between child care, transportation, and just being able to pay the bills, workers have a lot to juggle and the certainty of a manageable schedule would really help,” said Ananich in a statement.

“I hope that this type of legislation would lead to some good discussions both in Lansing and Washington about issues that impact families on a day-to-day basis.”

The legislation he refers to in the nation’s capital is The Schedules That Work Act, HR 5159. It would make similar changes on the federal level, modifying the number of times an employee is required to work or be on call and the amount of notification he or she receives of work schedule assignments.

Co-sponsors on the bill include Michigan U.S. Reps. John Conyers, D-Detroit, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Twp.

On Twitter this week people and organizations have tweeted about why they support The Schedules That Work Act ahead of the holiday shopping season

If lawmakers can create an analogous law requiring customers to place and pay for their orders 24 hours in advance, with a penalty for changes or additions then I am all for it!

In all seriousness, this is posturing…for those not in our state, the two sponsors of the bill are Democrats who are severely in the minority party here. The Republican party controls both houses (possibly even with a super-majority, I not sure where the final numbers ended up) and the Governors chair. This law would currently never get through the bill making process.

That having been said it is easy to introduce something that you know will never make it, but it looks good for their constituency. I am not far from being serious in saying that I would consider going to a carry out only model - where I could be the primary and at most times - possibly all times, only employee, if the demands on us as employers continues. It is even harder for a new/smaller business to meet these increased demands than it is for an established business.

California basically has a those laws in place already with the exception of the scheduling 24 hours in advance. You have pay people extra for split shifts or sending them home early. If they volunteer to go home early then you don’t have to pay them the extra time. I think you have to pay them half of their scheduled shift. We run tight crews so sending someone home early rarely ever happens. Our new law is that we have to pay 3 days sick time to everyone. Even part time kids. They don’t even have to be sick. They just have to know of some one who is sick like a family member or a friend. These politicians making these laws have no clue what it is like to run a restaurant business.

Thanks for sharing your experiences Pirate. I don’t envy you in that environment at all!

“running tight shifts” is another way to go, but at this time I don’t even have the volume for that. Having one driver here at all times IS the minimal staffing. And I wouldn’t think the seasonal swings are as severe in Southern Cal as in Michigan. I did 5 times as much business on Wednesday as Tuesday this week, with no other reason but weather. Again, it is just tougher and tougher to get started and I lament the fact that we are now tailoring our businesses around our employees rather than around our customers needs. That goes against the spirit of everything I stand for and try to instill in my staff and why I got into business for myself.

This looks like fluff to me. If you think about it, none of these things really make any difference anyway.

I can’t imagine myself ever writing a schedule that was to go into effect in less than 24 hours.

I have two acrylic sign holders mounted to the wall, the one on the left holds the current week’s schedule, the one on the right holds next week’s schedule. I try to write my schedule a week in advance, but if I can’t, I get it up at least five days before it goes into effect. That way, the crew knows well in advance when they’ll be working, and can plan accordingly. If something comes up where they can’t work one of their scheduled shifts, it’s their responsibility to find someone to cover the shift and get it approved by the manager in charge of the shift being covered. If they don’t get it covered, they’re still required to come in.

Even if the schedule change is last minute, I did not schedule them and require them to come in, they volunteered to come in. I’m not accountable for that under the proposed law.

Scheduling split shifts is a crappy thing to do. The time in between shifts really isn’t enough to go anywhere or do anything, it’s basically like scheduling someone for an open to close (because it takes up their entire day anyway), but there’s a chunk of time in the middle that they don’t get paid for. I don’t schedule split shifts- not because of any law, but because it’s bad for morale. If an employee is scheduled to work a long day and they need to do something in the middle of the day (run to the Secretary of State, whatever), they know that if they let me know in advance I can give them a long lunch break. That’s a different matter entirely.

The four hour thing really isn’t much of a change. The current law is three and a half hours, so it’s basically just extending that for an extra half hour.

I really have never felt the need to schedule anybody for less than four hours, anyway. If something comes up where we find ourselves over-scheduled, there’s always someone who will want to leave early (especially since they know that when we’re over-staffed, that’s when all the extra cleaning tasks get assigned…).

If the employee wants to leave early, you’re not accountable under the law.

I think MidnightRider has it right. Basically empty posturing to score points with the base. It won’t go anywhere, and really wouldn’t make any difference if it did.

I haven’t really looked at the specifics of the bill, but usually these things have minimum staffing requirements- so for example, if you employ less that 50 people, the law wouldn’t apply to you (NOTE: I just made that number up as an example for the sake of conversation, I have not read the bill!).

If we get a sudden or unexpected rush, I almost always have crew members willing to come in. That’s not the same as a business owner writing them in on the schedule and saying “there. You’re on the schedule, and if you’re not here in a half hour you’re fired”.

You make good points. I think we have had one split shift since we have been open and it wasn’t a mandate, it was offered as an option when a large order popped up. And yes, I try to give adequate notice on schedules as well. And yes there are typically minimal staffing levels written into the legislation.