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Support Workforce Investment

The NRF Retail Opportunity Index encourages Congress to support workforce investment by supporting jobs and economic growth rather than union organizers and expensive new regulations and mandates. Learn more.

The Issue

“On-call” or “predictive scheduling” activists argue that retail employers too often use scheduling practices that directly interfere with employees’ personal lives and ability to plan around their work hours.

In a dozen states and a number of localities around the country, initiatives have been introduced that would allow state or local governments to dictate how retailers and restaurants schedule their employees. While each proposal varies, they generally include four common provisions: advance posting of schedules, employer penalties for unexpected schedule changes, burdensome record-keeping requirements and prohibitions on requiring employees to find replacements for scheduled shifts if they are unable to work. In Congress, the pending Schedules That Work Act would require that schedules be provided in writing two weeks in advance with penalties for changes made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

NRF believes government intervention in the scheduling of employees through a one-size-fits-all approach intrudes on the employer-employee relationship and creates unnecessary mandates on how a business should operate.

Why it Matters                          

Every retailer has unique business processes and every employee has unique needs. Retailers need flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in a store, and they don’t need the government telling them how to do what they do best – run their businesses.

In order to retain and recruit talent, retailers take many steps to keep their employees happy – from education and training to bonus incentives and flexible hours. Retailers set scheduling expectations up front in the hiring process and many employers already voluntarily provide schedules well in advance, further demonstrating why costly and restrictive mandates are unnecessary.

The flexibility retail offers is one of the things that attract people to the industry. In fact, two-thirds of current retail employees have taken advantage of the unique scheduling flexibility of a job in retail to help them balance important priorities in their lives, such as going to school, working another job or raising a family. And 40 percent of retail workers say they’ve been at their job longer than they had anticipated because the scheduling flexibility suits their lifestyle and needs.

Scheduling proposals are especially harmful to small, independently owned businesses that have limited staff, eliminating the give and take of the employer-employee relationship and imposing costly penalties they can’t afford. They would also have an impact on customer service – resulting in not enough employees being scheduled, longer wait times and less personal attention.  

NRF Advocates for Workplace Flexibility and Independence

NRF supports workplace policies that promote flexibility and economic growth while opposing onerous rules that intrude on business operations and lead to unnecessary costs for retailers. NRF told the Washington, D.C., city council that scheduling legislation under consideration there “ties the hands of employers and takes away the flexibility and opportunity” that many workers seek when they choose to work in retail.