Extra pay for last-minute shift changes? Bill advances at state Capitol

The “predictable scheduling” bill would apply to chain restaurants, retail stores and long-term nursing facilities with more than 500 employees or 30 locations worldwide. It would not apply to smaller businesses.

John Craven

Mar 23, 2023, 10:02 PM

Updated 397 days ago

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Major chain restaurants and big box retailers would have to pay workers extra for last-minute shift changes under a bill that cleared a key legislative hurdle Thursday.
“Those schedules consistently changed,” Taylor Biniarz of Ellington recently told state lawmakers. “I was often either told that I wasn't needed on said day or cut early into one day – but was always called into days I wasn't scheduled.”
The “predictable scheduling” bill would apply to chain restaurants, retail stores and long-term nursing facilities with more than 500 employees or 30 locations worldwide. It would not apply to smaller businesses.
Under the proposal, businesses would have to give employees a work schedule two weeks in advance. Any changes within a week would get workers an extra hour of pay. For canceled hours, employees would earn half their salary for that shift. Those fees are waived if the employee requests the schedule change or voluntarily agrees to it.
The bill also includes a “right to rest,” requiring extra pay for shifts within 11 hours of a previous one.
“This practice means unstable hours that make it impossible for workers to plan their lives and adequately take care of their children and families,” said Francisco Diez, with the Center for Popular Democracy.
The General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee advanced the bill along party lines after a tense debate. Critics said it unfairly targets local franchisees of major fast-food chains.
“It's wrong to go and change the rules on people who have risked everything to establish a business,” said state Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott).
Restaurants warned the law could backfire, sticking workers with rigid schedules.
“Forty-three percent of our hourly employees have an email address that ends with '.edu.' They are students,” said Barcelona Wine Bar CEO Adam Halberg. “They need the ability to say, ‘Guess what. My project's not done yet and I need to take Friday off.’”
Various versions of the predictable scheduling legislation have failed in previous years after pushback from restaurant owners.
Also Thursday, lawmakers advanced bills to increase pay for Uber and Lyft drivers and ban companies from making employees work more than six days in a row.
All three bills now head to the full General Assembly.


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