21-day work schedule rule bill a nightmare

nfib-logoBy Jan Meekcoms
Oregon NFIB

Some small business owners have found flexible working arrangements work well for their company and benefit their employees.

A proposal in Oregon, however, would reduce employers’ freedom to manage their own businesses. Senate Bill 888 would require employers to work with employees to try to set up a mutually acceptable work schedule. It also would make it illegal to dismiss or retaliate against an employee who requests or discusses a flexible or predictable work schedule or files a work scheduling complaint.

“The provisions within SB 888 are an egregious overreach of government into the management by a business owner/employer of their enterprise,” NFIB/Oregon State Director Jan Meekcoms said in testimony before the Senate Workforce Committee. “It creates layers of complexity, some mandated, couched within unlawful employment practices, creating significant liability for the business owner while enveloping them in a scheduling straitjacket and administrative nightmare.”

The bill requires employers to set non-salaried employees’ schedules 21 days in advance. Business owners could not require an employee to work hours not included in his or her initial work schedule without the worker’s written consent. In addition, if an employee scheduled to work at least four hours is given less than four hours of work, the worker would have to be paid for the full four hours.

In addition to pointing out how complicated the proposal is, Meekcoms also noted the many arbitrary terms in the proposal. For instance, business owners can deny a flexible schedule request for a “bona fide business reason,” including “substantial cost to the employer,” “detrimental effect” and “inability to reorganize.”

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