Seattle has paid sick leave and one of the country’s highest minimum wages. Now, the city is exploring whether to adopt another kind of worker-friendly ordinance, this time one focused on how to make workers’ schedules more predictable.
It's a topic that gained national attention when the New York Times investigated erratic work hours at Starbucks.
In Seattle, nothing’s been introduced yet, but the city council has been gathering input from business and labor groups. One thing they’re considering is setting a minimum number of hours between work shifts to prevent so-called "clopening," which refers to when an employee closes a store and opens it the next day.
Kiersten Hutchins of the staffing company TrueBlue is part of the business stakeholder group. She told a council committee that restaurant servers sometimes want back-to-back shifts.
"There are a lot of people who actually really like that," she said. "If I can get a Friday night and then a Saturday morning brunch, or Saturday night and Sunday brunch, those are big tips."
Council member Lorena González says it may be a bigger burden to kitchen staff because those workers may have to work longer to clean up and then come in earlier the next day.
More than half of Seattle workers surveyed by the group Working Washington reported having to do back-to-back shifts.