Advocating for Sound Workplace Legislation

Over the years, Philadelphia City Council has introduced and passed legislation that negatively impacts businesses operating in the City. Such policies continue to put Philadelphia at a regional disadvantage and do little to help grow the economy. The trend now continues with a proposal that will have adverse effects on the food service, retail, and hospitality sectors.

The proposal is Bill No. 180649, introduced by Councilwoman Helen Gym on June 14, 2018. This bill proposes:

  • Companies within the food service, retail, and hospitality industry, with 250 or more employees and 20 locations must provide employees with their schedules 14 days in advance. If changes are made to the schedule, the employer must provide the employee with one hour of premium pay. Employers must also offer employee a good faith estimate of hours upon hiring, including average hours they employee can expect to work each week.
  • Employers are required to provide premium pay if an employee’s shift is scheduled less than 11 hours after the end of their previous shift. Even if the employee wants to work this schedule, the employer is still required to provide premium pay.
  • Before hiring new employees, employers are now required to offer extra hours to existing employees.
  • Employers are required to maintain records of schedule changes, written work schedules, and good faith estimate of schedules for two years.

In recent years, cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Seattle implemented proposals that mandate that employers with 250 employees or more who operate 20 locations provide employees with their schedules two to four weeks in advance (the exact number generally varies by city).

When compared to other cities, Philadelphia’s bill is the most burdensome proposal introduced to date. Cities such as San Francisco require that employers within the retail industry provide employees their schedules two weeks in advance and require predictable pay (a form of premium pay designed to penalize employers who make last-minute changes to employee schedules) if changes are made in seven days. In New York City, retailers are required to provide 72 hours notice and fast food restaurants are required to provide 14 days notice and premium pay if changes are made. Seattle requires that food service and retail employees receive their work schedules two weeks in advance.

Though Councilwoman Gym states that her bill will help 130,000 employees, the current bill is likely to impact a total of 1,155 business establishments and 37,208, or 35%, of all employees in the food service, hotel, and retail trade industries in Philadelphia. These totals represent 1.8% all of businesses and 5.5% of all employees citywide. We do not believe that debatable ends justify the means, given how onerous this legislation is for employers. The added compliance brought on by this bill is likely to create less flexibility for the employee when it comes to scheduling and cause a decrease in the number of part-time jobs available, hurting the regional economy overall.

We Want to Hear from You

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia is in coalition with Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, Pennsylvania Retailer’s Association, Asian American Chamber of Commerce f0r Greater Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania Food Merchant Associations and will continue to educate Councilmembers on the unintended consequences of such legislation. If your company is likely to be impacted by this bill, we want to hear from you.

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