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After restaurants' concern, Minneapolis changes fair scheduling proposals

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Many small businesses in Minneapolis were dismayed by plans to introduce sweeping reforms of working hours – and it looks as though their concerns have been duly noted by city leaders.

Mayor Betsy Hodges says in a press release Tuesday that she is backing changes to her Working Families Agenda that have been made following feedback from businesses, workers and advocates.

Some small firms in the city, particularly in the restaurant industry, were especially unhappy with the "fair scheduling" proposals, which would have required businesses to give workers 28 days' notice of their work schedules.

But the revised draft of the Working Families Agenda says:

  • Employees will give 14 days advance notice of work schedules, instead of 28.
  • Scheduling practices such as "4-10s" (4 days of 10 hours) and split shifts will be preserved.
  • Small companies will be allowed extra time to establish new scheduling practices and systems.
  • Ensuring there is adequate rest between "clopening shifts" – working a closing shift one night and an opening shift the next morning – and provide one day of rest on the seventh day each week.
  • Support will be available from the city for businesses to implement the policies.

Restaurants and other small firms had heatedly debated the initial proposals, with many complaining that it would be nearly impossible to predict how many shift workers they would need 28 days in advance, since it depends on the number of reservations.

Outdoor businesses had also complained about this, saying they couldn't predict what the weather would be like that far out.

But supporters of the changes have been calling for better conditions particularly for non-salaried workers, many of whom are lower paid and face too much uncertainty about how much they'll earn and when their shifts will be.

The Working Families Agenda also includes proposals to implement mandatory sick pay for employees.

Hodges is backing the latest changes, saying: "While there has been a healthy discussion over what a final ordinance will include, there is now a strong movement toward consensus."

"Making sure that these [low income and hourly] workers earn sick time, can plan for everyday realities like child care or second jobs with predictable schedules, and are paid fairly for all the hours that they work is not only good business practice, it helps all our communities thrive now and lays the foundation for Minneapolis’ economic success in the future," she added.

The feedback will be put into an altered draft of the agenda by Oct. 16. It is hoped the plan will be voted on in November and implemented in January.

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