Staffing firms raise key concerns on Fair Scheduling Act
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS - Staffing firms from across Illinois say legislation to outlaw scheduling changes for workers within 72 hours of a shift cannot be feasibly
implemented and will actually hurt the workers it is intended to help. In testimony on Wednesday, May 9, at a joint hearing of the Senate and
House Labor Committees, Seville Staffing President Janet Sloan said her company hires thousands of temporary workers annually for every economic
sector, from not-for-profit organizations and manufacturers to small businesses, government organizations and entrepreneurial companies.
Sloan, whose firm is certified for minority and woman-owned business, testified on behalf of the Illinois Search and Staffing Association, Staffing
Services Association of Illinois and the American Staffing Association to oppose "fair scheduling" legislation.
In testimony on Wednesday, May 9, at a joint hearing of the Senate and House Labor Committees, Seville Staffing President Janet Sloan said her
company hires thousands of temporary workers annually for every economic sector, from not-for-profit organizations and manufacturers to small
businesses, government organizations and entrepreneurial companies.
Sloan, whose firm is certified for minority and woman-owned business, testified on behalf of the Illinois Search and Staffing Association, Staffing Services Association of Illinois and the American Staffing Association to oppose "fair scheduling" legislation.
TESTIMONY: FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
“Temporary agencies are a necessary bridge between workers and employers as we connect people who want work with clients who have work.
In my experience, there are generally two broad categories of people who use temporary agencies. The first type I’ll call “transactional” — people who
use temp work to meet a short-term specific goal, i.e. re-entering the workforce, supplementing their income, or finding a job. A temporary
agency can help with that last goal because on a frequent basis, outstanding temporary employees are offered full-time positions by our clients, who
contract with us to employ temporary employees. That’s good for my business, good for the employee, and good for Illinois businesses.
“The 2nd category I’ll call “situational” — people who need flexibility and cannot hold a more traditional full-time job because of their life situation,”
Sloan testified. “I’m testifying today on behalf of the thousands of single mothers, students, family care-givers, displaced factory workers, ex-felons
and others who work for temporary agencies.”
WHY THIS APPROACH CAN'T WORK
The legislation requires that workers be provided 72 hours written notice of their work schedules, and all workers would be entitled to four hours’ pay if
they are notified less than 72 hours before a shift that the shift has been cancelled or their work hours have been reduced. Legislators and staffing
firms raised questions about how it would be impossible to reschedule workers within 72 hours without violating the law.
“What happens if someone is a caregiver and we have to change the schedule so they can take care of their sick parent or child?” Sloan testified. “How
about ex-felons that work at a Southside bakery that have to meet their parole officer at a moment’s notice? What about a student that needs to pay
for books or tuition and decides on a Friday to pick up shifts for the weekend? All of those occurrences would create scheduling changes and would be
threatened by this proposal. As a woman, this bill especially hurts single mothers who struggle each day to juggle a schedule of work, child raising and
in many cases, caring for parents.”
A DIFFERENT WAY OF PROVIDING OPPORTUNITY
Unlike traditional workers, temporary workers and staffing clients seek workplace flexibility that is the hallmark of temporary work and which this
legislation would unintentionally stifle. There is no feasible way for staffing firms to comply with the requirements of the legislation as temporary
assignments arise on a very short notice. And our temporary employees’ responsibilities shift rapidly and without advance notice, Sloan said.
In Oregon, the scheduling law exempts temporary workers and Sloan said that Oregon is the “only state to pass a predictive scheduling law and
Oregon lawmakers decided not to include temporary staffing agencies. That is why we seek an exemption.”
“In the temporary staffing business, it is the relationship we have with our employees and with our customers that is the key to our success,” Sloan
said. “We look forward to working with the sponsors to improve this legislation so that it doesn’t harm the workers it intends to help by hurting
the agencies who exist to help.”
While the two bills in Springfield (Senate Bill 202 and House Bill 5046) appear to be stalled for this spring legislative session, a similar and even
more unwieldy ordinance is pending before the Chicago City Council, staffing firms said. The so called “Fair Workweek Ordinance” in Chicago
would require two weeks’ notice before a schedule change.