Employer scheduling practices that introduce instability and unpredictability into workers’ lives are widespread and largely harmful. Recently, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Emeryville (CA), and Oregon and New York have passed new work hour standards, and at least 13 other municipalities are considering similar scheduling legislation. The new laws establish standards for scheduling hourly employees in targeted industries, primarily in the retail and food service sectors and in large corporations. Yet, cost-focused business models and other institutional factors that shape managerial practices in these industries raise concerns that firms will be able to avoid implementing the new standards.
Social work scholars Susan Lambert and Anna Haley will examine employers’ implementation of recent regulations governing scheduling practices in hourly jobs. They will conduct 40 in-depth interviews with managers directly responsible for scheduling workers in hourly retail and food service jobs at national chains. Half of the interviews will be conducted in two unregulated cities adjacent to Seattle and the other half in newly-regulated New York City. They will also interview other stakeholders (five per location) who influence company practices and the broader institutional environment. They have selected six retail chains (two apparel/specialty stores, two department/big box stores, and two convenience stores) and three fast food chains.