As noted in the June 24 Metro article “D.C. bill on shift changes advances,” a D.C. Council committee advanced the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015, proposed legislation rife with unintended consequences.
This legislation would force businesses to communicate scheduling needs two weeks in advance — no phone calls or texts — and to keep all relevant records for three years.
Also, businesses would be forced to offer additional work hours to existing employees, meaning that employers would have little ability to support those who rely on summer and after-school work programs. Increasing the costs of employment would incentivize employers to get by with fewer workers and to adopt labor-displacing technologies, leaving the burden to fall mostly on our poorest residents.
Finally, the impact on business development in the District does not seem to have been considered. Having just agreed to increase the minimum wage over the next several years and looking to increase local business taxes to support family and medical leave mandates, the council must understand that the costs associated with the proposed predictive scheduling bill are just too much at this time.
Instead of micromanaging business practices and penalizing employers for responding to market demand, the District should focus on working with retailers and restaurateurs to enhance business investment and create shopping opportunities and related jobs for distressed neighborhoods.
Terry L. Clower, Oak Hill
The writer provides advisory services to the D.C. Jobs and Growth Partnership, a retail industry group.