A proposal that would require large Chicago employers to give workers at least two weeks' advance notice of their schedules and compensate them for last minute changes will have to wait for the incoming City Council before it can move forward.
The proposed "fair workweek" ordinance aims to add Chicago to the growing list of cities imposing regulations that protect employees against unpredictable work hours that make it difficult for them to plan for child care, go to school, work a second job or have confidence that their paychecks will cover their bills. It was staunchly opposed by a coalition of major business interest groups that termed it the "restrictive scheduling" ordinance and warned that it would reduce flexibility valued by both employers and workers.
After months of negotiations over compromise legislation, the council's workforce development committee kicked it to the next administration.
The pro-business Work Your Way coalition hailed the deferral so it can continue negotiations to make the legislation more employer-friendly.
But labor groups supporting the regulations vowed not to back down.
A spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, who will preside over her first City Council meeting May 20, said she is reviewing the current draft of the ordinance. Lightfoot "believes that Chicago needs a Fair Work Week that will guarantee stable schedules to hundreds of thousands of our workers," her spokeswoman's statement said.
The proposed ordinance would apply to employers with at least 100 workers and to restaurants with more than 250 employees and 30 locations globally, though there are exemptions for the construction industry, the city and other governmental agencies. Franchisees who own four or fewer locations also would be exempt.
Covered employees include all hourly workers and salaried employees earning less than $50,000 a year, but not those who work in sports stadiums or as live-in staff at residential institutions for the disabled. Workplaces with collective bargaining agreements would be exempt as long as they waive the ordinance in their contracts.
If it's approved, employers would have to give at least 10 days' advance notice of workers' schedules starting April 1, 2020, and that would grow to a minimum of 14 days two years later. If an employer changes a worker's schedule less than two weeks before the shift, it would have to give the worker an hour of "predictability pay" at their regular wage rate. If an employer cancels or reduces hours within 24 hours of the start of a previously scheduled shift, they would have to pay the worker half of what would they have made had they worked.
The proposed ordinance does not prevent workers from trading shifts or requesting changes to their schedule. Employers can also change an employee's hours without penalty when it is mutually agreed upon in writing.
The ordinance includes a "right to rest" provision that gives employees the right to decline work hours that start less than 10 hours after the end of a shift. If an employer doesn't get written consent from workers willing to work such shifts, they have to pay them time and a half.
It also requires that employers offer existing part-time workers extra hours before hiring new people, meant to address underemployment that makes it hard for low-wage workers to make ends meet.