by Eric Wuestewald

Everyone who's worked part-time knows that the schedule is always a moving target. Mornings, nights, weekends — it's all up in the air. Retail and fast-food workers have to embrace the chaos because they need the money, but that unpredictability can sometimes mean the difference between accepting last-minute schedule changes or losing a job. Supervisor David Chiu has just introduced some legislation to address this problem.

As the Chronicle reports, Chiu has brought a proposed law to the Board of Supervisors requiring chain stores to post schedules two weeks in advance, to give extra pay for last-minute changes or cancellations, and to grant part-time employees time-off requests and consistent work shifts.

In a statement, Supervisor Chiu explained his position, "Many workers in San Francisco have to juggle multiple jobs consistently to make ends meet," he said. "More predictable schedules will help workers achieve the stability and security they need so they can manage their jobs, their families and their lives."

Ann O'Leary, Vice President and Director of the Children & Families program at Next Generation and a collaborator on the task force, added, "A parent's unpredictable schedule impacts not only the workers ability to financially provide for their families, but also to ensure that their children are well cared for when they are at work and that their children know when their parents will be there for them."

Composed in collaboration with a task force of business and worker advocates, the legislation would apply to all formula retail — which under city rules means companies with at least 11 locations nationwide and 20 employees — ultimately making life easier for an estimated 35,000 workers at businesses like McDonald's, Macy's, Target, and Best Buy.

When asked why only these workers would be included, and not, say, every store and restaurant, Samantha Roxas, a legislative aide for Chiu explained “When we convened the task force, it was supposed to be for all employers, but we had conversations with small businesses and found people with one or two or three employees who said that it would be difficult to follow these rules.”

Chiu has made some previous moves in this area, including the 2013 Family Friend Workplace Ordinance, which provides adaptable work arrangements for parents and caregivers. Earlier this year, Chiu and fellow supervisor Eric Mar also introduced the Retail Workers Bill of Rights Ordinance, offering further protections to part-time retail employees.

And, it should be noted, that like David Campos, Chiu is also running for State Assembly this November and is therefore seeking out some non-controversial, last-minute feathers in his policy cap, of which this would be one.