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Retail Association of Maine Urges Opposition to LD 1345

April 5, 2019

The following was cut and pasted directly from a Retail Association of Maine newsletter from April 3, 2019.  
The SMMC does not have an official endorsement on this issue.  This is simply to share the opposition view for consideration.   
The SMMC Advocacy Policy is not equipped to gather the information and polling of the members quick enough to make a stance on this timely hearing, so we are showcasing the bill information and the opposition view (seen here) to give members both sides of the issue.  

 

RETAIL ASSOCIATION OF MAINE NEWSLETTER, APRIL 3, 2019

ACTION ALERT: OPPOSE LD 1345

LD 1345 would require employers to compensate hourly employees for work schedule changes under certain circumstances. As crazy as this proposal is, we need to push back hard to help defeat this bill. The public hearing is one week away on Wednesday, April 10 at 9 AM in the Labor and Housing Committee.

We need you to do two things:

·    Send an email to the Labor and Housing Committee prior to April 10 opposing the bill. The Labor and Housing Committee email list: Shenna.Bellows@Legislature.Maine.gov, Stacey.Guerin@legislature.maine.gov, Mark.Lawrence@Legislature.Maine.gov, Michael.Sylvester@Legislature.Maine.gov, Sue.Austin@legislature.maine.gov, Richard.Bradstreet@Legislature.Maine.gov, Anne.Carney@Legislature.Maine.gov, Scott.Cuddy@Legislature.Maine.gov, Donna.Doore@legislature.maine.gov, Lawrence.Lockman@legislature.maine.gov, Joshua.Morris@Legislature.Maine.gov, Ann.Peoples@legislature.maine.gov, Deane.Rykerson@legislature.maine.gov, LBHS@legislature.maine.gov

 

·    Plan to come testify in person at the public hearing and encourage your employees to also email / testify. Having the committee hear from employees will be the most effective way to defeat this bill. Have them talk about how they enjoy the flexible work hours and ability to pick up extra shifts when it's convenient for them and that schedule changes can happen for a myriad of reasons. For those of you coming to testify in person, please bring 25 printed copies of your testimony. We recommend addressing your testimony as follows:

Senator Shenna Bellows-Chair

Representative Michael Sylvester-Chair and members of the Labor and Housing Committee

Testimony in OPPOSITION to LD 1345, An Act to Ensure a Fair Work Week

Dear Senator Bellows, Representative Sylvester and members of the Labor and Housing Committee:

LD 1345 is known as "restrictive scheduling" and would require employers to compensate hourly employees with additional pay if schedule changes are made within two weeks of the schedule change.

This is an idea that started in San Francisco about five years ago and it's slowly been spreading to a few other municipalities and one other state. So far, Oregon is the only state to have passed this statewide (and their law only applies to employers of 500+), but it has taken root in Seattle, New York City, and Philadelphia.

 

Here's what's in LD 1345:

·    It would apply to any business with 5 or more employees. Interestingly, they exempted non-profits and governmental entities - which means the legislature's unpredictable schedule would be exempted.

·    Employers must provide an initial estimate of hours to new employees. It reads, "Prior to the start of a new employee's employment, an employer shall provide the employee with a good faith estimate in writing of the employee's expected minimum number of scheduled shifts per month, excluding on-call shifts, and the days and hours of those shifts."

·    Employers must provide employees with at least two weeks notice of work schedules.

·    If there is a schedule change, the employer shall provide notice by in-person conversation or by telephone call and shall provide notice in writing, including by e-mail, text message or other electronic communication.

·    Additionally, the employer must compensate the employee with additional pay according to the following schedule:

·    With less than 7 days' notice but 24 hours' or more notice to the employee, one hour of pay at the employee's regular hourly rate;

·    With less than 24 hours' notice to the employee, 2 hours of pay at the employee's regular hourly rate for each shift of 4 hours or less; and

·    With less than 24 hours' notice to the employee, 4 hours of pay at the employee's regular hourly rate for each shift of more than 4 hours.

·    There are some exemptions in the bill for when work is impacted by an act of God, civil emergency, or utility failure. However, there is no exemption for weather or other typical situations that exist in the retail or business world.

Some additional points to use when reaching out to legislators:

·    LD 1345 presumes that the employer / employee relationship is contentious and a one-way street. Employers work hard to meet a myriad of scheduling accommodations like paid time off, sick days, vacation days, youth sport schedules, doctor appointments. . . the list could go on.

·    Retailers work tirelessly to ensure their associates have everything they need to ensure they’re able to manage both work and the other components of their lives as easily as possible. 

·    We know that associates value flexibility as one of their most important factors when considering working in retail. 

·    A large portion of the retail store workforce are on the early and older ages of the spectrum and value part-time and flexible employment. In the age of the 21st century workforce and gig economy, retailers are having a harder time than ever in recruiting workers so employers work with employees on schedules that work. 

·    This bill runs counter to workforce trends and will do nothing but tie the hands of Maine's small businesses and send many retail job candidates to on-demand companies like Uber and Lyft, where they can work when they want.

·    Retailers are continuously innovating in this space and many retailers have announced new programs and applications to manage these processes better. This bill would impede on their ability to innovate and offer what their associates desire. 

·    Companies are very likely to offer fewer part-time jobs, hurting employees and their families, as well as the community

We strongly oppose this bill and we have built a large coalition of other business groups to help us defeat this bill. However, this is a challenging legislative environment and we cannot assume that LD 1345 will be easily killed even though it is clearly a bad bill. We've seen a number of bills this legislative session that would make doing business in Maine harder or more expensive, this one might be the most egregious yet.

Thanks for your membership and for reading!
Curtis Picard, CAE
President and CEO

 

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