A Philly City Council Committee holds hearing on "fair work week" legislation

The bill says employers would have to post schedules, notify employees, at least two weeks in advance.

Pat Loeb
October 29, 2018 - 10:10 pm
Philadelphia City Hall.

Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia City Council Committee hears testimony, Tuesday afternoon, on a bill that would require employers to give part-time employees more stability in scheduling. 

Councilwoman Helen Gym calls her bill the "Fair Work Week" legislation. She says it will protect 130,000 low-wage workers in Philadelphia, employed mostly in retail, food service and hospitality. 

"We're looking for stability that not only help families keep a stable and healthy job schedule but also get them on a path to full time work," she said. 

The bill says employers would have to post schedules, and notify employees, at least two weeks in advance and provide "predictability pay" if they change the schedule after that.

Gym says families will testify about the havoc unpredictable schedules reek in terms of child care and meeting expenses, but she says the bill also has the support of a coalition of small businesses.

"The industry itself recognizes that unstable scheduling practices are unhealthy for businesses," Gym said. 

Researcher Kristin Harknett studied Philadelphians in those jobs and says that "having an unpredictable work schedule is strongly associated with hunger hardship and worse sleep quality and more psychological distress." 

The Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill. 

It points to its own research that it says shows 92 percent of employees in those jobs are happy with their employers' efforts to be flexible, and 82 percent want decisions made by their employer, not the City of Philadelphia.

It also suggests a number of changes to make the bill more palatable, including lower the advance notice to seven days and clarifying how "predictability pay" is distributed.