Minneapolis mayor shelves 'fair scheduling' plan – for now

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Minneapolis is shelving controversial plans to implement "fair scheduling" rules for workers – after the idea got push back from certain small business sectors.

In an email news release, Mayor Betsy Hodges revealed changes to the "Working Families Agenda" she's proposed.

She is pushing ahead with plans to implement new sick pay rules for employers and protections against wage theft.

But gone for now is a proposed requirement that businesses give their workers 14 days notice of their work schedule (a reduction from the 28 days initially proposed), plus compensatory pay when their shifts were changed last minute.

It follows a robust response from a number of small businesses in the city, particularly in the restaurant industry, who argued that the changeable nature of their businesses would make it impossible to give schedules that far in advance.

These concerns appear to have been heard.

Hodges said that having spoken to businesses, both for and against the proposal, she has "come to the conclusion that we are not in a position to resolve the concerns satisfactorily on the timeline currently contemplated."

"For this reason, I am announcing today that I am moving forward with the agenda to ensure earned sick and safe time and to protect against wage theft, and that for now, fair scheduling policies will not be the focus of the work," she said.

Hodges still committed to fair scheduling

As well as small business opposition, the Star Tribune reports larger companies had also "started to mobilize" against the fair scheduling proposal, with a Minnesota Business Partnership strategy session convening on Tuesday.

Tony Chesak, of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told WCCO the ordinance would have made scheduling "a nightmare" and would have been hugely costly to businesses, adding that flexibility is extremely important in the bar and restaurant industry.

Nonetheless, Hodges is still committed to the plan in the long-term, saying that low-income, hourly and part-time workers – many of whom are immigrants or people of color – are suffering because unpredictable schedules make it difficult for them to deal with everyday realities such as child care and second jobs.

"Let me be clear: the inability of too many low-income, hourly, and part-time workers to plan their lives predictably in order to get ahead is still a problem in our city," she said. "We should not stop looking for a solution until it stops being a problem."

FOX 9 reported a rally was held outside Minneapolis City Hall earlier this month by low-income workers in favor of the Working Families Agenda.

The proposed changes that will go forward would ensure that: workers accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work; workers have "additional assurances" they will be paid for all the hours they work; and that said wages will "not be stolen" by their employers.

The Minneapolis City Council will have to pass the measures. They meet every other Friday, with the next session scheduled for Oct. 23.

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