Philadelphia bill ensures predictable schedule for workers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia, the poorest big city in the U.S., has passed legislation that will ensure fast-food, retail and hospitality workers will know when they'll work and how much they'll work.

Without predictable schedules, workers say they can't budget or make plans like doctor's appointments, and it keeps them in a cycle of poverty.

Councilwoman Helen Gym, who introduced and championed the bill approved Thursday, says it will affect about 130,000 hourly workers in the retail, foodservice, and hospitality sectors.

"They're struggling in part-time jobs," said Gym. "They might get a schedule for Friday and it may change by the following Thursday."

The bill includes provisions for advance notice of schedules, a pathway to access more hours of work, compensation for last-minute schedule changes, and protection from retaliation.

The vote was 14-3, right along party lines. The Republicans voted no, saying it will intrude on existing union contracts.

"We have a lot of unionized employees with good pay and benefits and negotiate their contracts," said City Councilman Brian O'Neill. "I think that should be sacred and it should be exempted but it's included."

Philadelphia is now the second-biggest city, after New York, to approve a scheduling law.

The bill will be enacted in January 2020 with a 10-day notification mandate. One year later the notification timeline will be 14 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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