2/4/2019  Lakewood Chamber
UPDATE 2-6-2019:  This bill entails businesses that have 100 or more employees.  We were updated with that fact today.
Action Alert -
This Bill Will Impact ALL Businesses with 100 or more employees!
House Bill 1491 will IMPACT ALL business owners and employees.
The Washington State legislature is considering a bill that will greatly impact business owners and employees. Public comment will be taken this Tuesday, February 5 in the O’Brien Building in Hearing Room E at 3:30 PM. It is the farthest room from the building entrance, located all the way down the hall. Here is a map of the building: http://leg.wa.gov/LIC/Documents/Maps/JLOB_MAP.pdf
Public comment is best made in person, but comments can also be submitted online.
Impact of HB 1491/SB 5717 for Employers
Work schedules for all employees:
  • must be posted a minimum of 14 calendar days in advance. Failure to do so triggers a $100 per employee per day penalty.
  • Must list all employees and state the hours they will work, the hours they are on call, and the hours they are not working.
  • If an employee is called in, he or she will be paid twice their regular hourly rate ($24/hr for minimum wage employees).
  • Employers must pay at least one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work because the employer:
  • Subtracted hours from a regular work shift before or after the employee reported for duty;
  • changed the date, start time, or end time of a work shift resulting in a loss of hours;
  • canceled a work shift; or
  • scheduled the employee for an on-call shift for which the employee does not need to report to work.
  • If an employee should call out, an employer may not ask that he or she find a replacement.
  • If an employee is asked to work a shift sooner than twelve hours after the end of the previous calendar day's work shift, and the employee agrees to do so, pay would be 1.5 times the regular hourly amount.
When additional hours of work become available, an employer must offer the additional hours to existing employees before hiring new employees from an external applicant pool or subcontractors, including hiring through the use of temporary services or staffing agencies, as provided in this section.
An employer must post written notice of available hours of work for at least five consecutive calendar days to current employees. The notice must contain:
  • Description and title of the position;
  • Required qualifications for the position;
  • Total hours of work being offered;
  • Schedule of available work shifts;
  • Whether the available work shifts will occur at the same time each week;
  • Length of time the employer anticipates requiring coverage of the additional hours; and
  • An advisement that an employee may accept a subset of the hours offered.
  • An employer must offer additional hours of work to an existing employee who responds to the offer of work and who, to a reasonable employer acting in good faith, is qualified with the skills and experience to perform the work. Employers must get written confirmation from all such employees that they are not interested every time they have additional hours they would like filled.
  • An employer who fails to award hours to a qualified employee who is eligible to receive the hours under the policy must compensate the qualified employee in the amount of $1,000.
An employer must retain records for a period of three years that document compliance with this chapter, including:
  • Written good faith estimates of employee work schedules;
  • Written documentation regarding the employer's bona fide reason for denying an employee's request for a change in work schedule;
  • Work schedules;
  • Payroll records that specify the amount of additional;
  • Written documentation of employee-requested changes to the employee's work schedule;
  • Written notices of additional hours of work available for employees;
  • Written confirmation from all employees that they are not interested in accepting additional hours;
  • Other records that the director determines by rule are material and necessary;
If an employer fails to retain adequate records under this section, there shall be a presumption, rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence, that the employer violated this chapter for the periods and for each employee for whom records were not retained.
For employers in Retail, Hospitality, and/or Restaurant industries with 100 employees or more worldwide
An employee may identify any limitations or changes in work schedule availability and the right to request not to be scheduled for work shifts during certain times or at certain locations and the right to identify preferences for the hours or locations of work. The employer must grant the request unless the employer has a bona fide business reason for denial.
Impact of HB 1491/SB 5717 for Employees
People who desire part time work, or prefer to work flexible schedules, are now not able to find employment in the retail sector:
  • Reduces hours available for workers due to reduce the risk of triggering penalty compensation
  • Accordingly, retailers are now reducing, or eliminating positions that students and others who desire flexible, part time work schedules want.
  • Retailers/Restauranteurs often cannot predict scheduling fluctuations due to weather, events, festivals, etc.
  • Changes in schedules, or failure to provide at least 14-day notice can trigger expensive penalties and compensation
  • Restricts the ability to provide after hours or on-call services such as road repair, home delivery, and immediate service needs.
  • Five day wait times for employees to respond to available positions is unreasonable and simply results in fewer positions being offered.
Employees no longer can trade shifts or accommodate fellow workers needs by trading shifts without the risk of triggering penalties for their employer
  • Accordingly, the normal practice of employees working together to accommodate individual needs is eliminated.
  • Employees must know they desire to change shifts at least 14 days in advance, which is not practical for working families
  • Voluntary “stand-by” lists are not honored and, indeed, penalized if used by employers and employees
Employees and Employers will be saddled with unrealistic limitations
  • Workers must provide their availability 21 days in advance in order to prepare a work schedule 14 days in advance. This is nearly impossible for workers who may not know family obligations or events that far out.
  • No-one can predict weather conditions or many events with any certainly 14 days in advance.
  • These proposals include extraordinary record keeping and programming challenges adding costs and eliminating efficient use of tools understood by both employees and employers.
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