Although she was hired on as a full-time employee at Domino’s Pizza, Crystal Thompson had a schedule that became erratic and unreliable shortly after she began working there in 2009. One day she’d start at 9 a.m. and work until 9 p.m.; and then she’d get a call asking her to work the morning shift the next day.
The single mother of three relied on the job to pay over $1,200 a month in rent, utilities, food, and child care, but during the most volatile weeks, she was lucky if she got even 20 hours in shifts. Moreover, it was difficult to find a babysitter or make doctor’s appointments when she sometimes received her schedule only a day in advance. At a loss, Thompson moved one of her children into the living room and found a roommate to shoulder the part of the rent that she couldn’t afford.
“It’s crazy,” Thompson says about her schedule. “It’s so hard trying to plan your life.”
But thanks to an ordinance passed in Seattle last month, Thompson and other workers in the service and retail industries will finally have the freedom to think more than one day ahead. The new law, known as “secure scheduling,” will take effect in July 2017 and will impact large retail, service, and drinking establishments with a minimum of 500 workers globally, as well as full-service restaurants with more than 500 workers and 40 or more locations.