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Oregon Legislature passes worker scheduling bill

By ANDREW SELSKY

Of The Associated Press

SALEM — Workers in Oregon for large companies will know their schedules in advance, saving them from scrambling to arrange child care and enabling them to have more orderly lives, under a bill the state Legislature passed on Thursday.

The bill was described as being a first among U.S. states. Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, one of its sponsors, said it could become a national model.

Under the bill, passed by the House on Thursday and previously approved by the Senate, retailers and food services and hospitality businesses that have 500 or more employees worldwide must give notice of schedules at least seven days in advance as of July 2018, and at least 14 days in advance as of July 2020.

More than 100 Oregonians wrote to lawmakers supporting or opposing the bill.

Among them was Alexandria Levin, a resident of Portland, who strongly backed it.

“People need to be able to plan for doctor and dentist appointments, as well as know when they can sign up for courses and classes,” she wrote. “If people work part-time, then they need to know when they might be available for a second part-time job, because they most likely will need one.”

The companies must also give workers 10 hours rest between two shifts, which they can waive and receive time-and-a-half rates.

Julie Harbold, who owns a Subway sandwich shop in Portland, called the measure “completely unrealistic in operations of actual business.”

“Our restaurants run on such narrow margins, are faced with rising minimum wage costs and are often in fluctuations that are not within our control as far as weather, customer flows, and unforeseen variables,” Harbold said.

Other states considering similar initiatives include Connecticut, California, North Carolina, and Ohio, said Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative, which has led the organizing nationwide.

“The win today will make it easier to pursue campaigns in those states,” Gleason said. “The fact that the legislation passed in Oregon with bipartisan support in both chambers is encouraging.”

The Oregon Working Families Party had worked to organize support on the ground for the bill.

“Hard-working people deserve a schedule they can count on,” said party spokeswoman Hannah Taube. “This legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, would help working families across the state ... plan for things like child care, higher education, doctor's appointments, and management of their personal finances.”

Pending a legal review, Gov. Kate Brown intends to sign the bill into law, said her spokesman, Bryan Hockaday.

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