HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers call it the “Fair Work Week Schedule” bill, but many business leaders are saying it is unfair to them.
In Connecticut, the restaurant business employs an estimated 160,000 people — many of them are hourly or part-time workers. Other retail businesses also depend on hourly, part-time workers and the Fair Work Week Schedule proposal would require bosses to post all schedules at least 14 days in advance. If the boss decided they didn’t need the employee for some of that time, they’d have to pay them anyway.
Elizabeth Martinez, of Bridgeport, told lawmakers she worked at a fast-food restaurant and never had any idea what her schedule was going to be.
Through a translator, she also said, “When workers do not have regular schedules, we can’t meet the basic needs of our families, arrange for child care medical appointments or even arrange off time with our families.”
But the restaurant industry said that’s an extreme case, and that many employees want and need flexibility.
“There’s a lot of penalties and procedural language in there that will hurt a restaurant on things they can’t control; weather events that may come up,” said Scott Dolch, Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
“We really seem to be targeting small businesses in this state, making it more and more difficult for them to survive here,” added Eric Gjede of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. “We continue to micromanage the way they are run.”
While the Democratic leadership endorses the idea, a spokesman for Governor Ned Lamont said they are still evaluating the proposal. Several large cities — New York, Chicago and San Francisco — have similar city ordinances like this but this would be the first such law that would be statewide.