Philly City Council Passes Workweek Stability Measure

A bill approved by the Philadelphia City Council last week in a 14-3 vote will require many retail, fast-food and hotel industry employers to provide workers with more consistent scheduling practices. 

Councilwoman Helen Gym introduced the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance in June and the council’s Committee on Law and Government moved it to a full vote following three hours of powerful public testimony in October.  

Before the December 6 final vote, community advocates packed council chambers again to voice their support for the bill. Following the vote, the bill’s proponents touted the potential effects on the workforce.  

Philadelphia AFL-CIO President Pat Eiding, a longtime public supporter of the bill, hopes the new law can provide more stability for the city’s service industry. He said it would allow “working people to plan for doctor visits, to take care of family members, to go back to school and further their education.” 

However, detractors were not so optimistic.  

“I had to vote that way to keep an open door to employers,” Councilman David Oh, one of the bill’s three dissenters, said. “Today, we’re bashing large employers, but large employers are the ones that are deciding to increase or decrease the jobs.”  

Once signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, the bill (Bill No.180-649-A02) will most likely go into effect starting January 2020. Employers with at least 250 employees and 30 locations globally will be required to: 

  • Provide employees with schedules at least 10 days in advance 
  • Provide Predictability Pay for any last-minute schedule changes 
  • Give potential hires an accurate estimate of the number of hours they can expect to work 
  • Guarantee at least nine hours of rest between consecutive shifts 

In a statement after the bill’s passage, Mayor Kenney called the bill an “important step toward ensuring that working families don’t face those difficult choices.” 

“Poverty doesn’t just show up one day, knocking on a family’s door,” Kenney said. “Poverty works its way into households in insidious, subtle ways – such as when parents must choose between buying new shoes for their growing toddler, or a decent meal for the family. It shouldn’t be that way.” 

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