For many of our Hispanic entrepreneurs, a part-time job provided that crucial first step toward achieving their dreams and creating a business that, in turn, is providing those same opportunities for more young people in our communities. For many in our communities, including young people, part-time work is critical as a first opportunity or to balance family, school or other obligations. Ensuring flexible work schedules that allow employees to maintain the work-life balance they need, while also permitting businesses to meet the demands of a challenging economy, is an important balance that our stakeholders strive every day to get right.
This is why it is so disturbing to see a trend emerging across the country of state and local governments, including D.C. and Seattle, considering one-size fits all scheduling legislation that would prohibit the flexibility that our businesses need to make them successful and that their employees rely upon to meet the demands of their personal lives.
The current argument is that legislation is necessary to ensure workers have the schedules they need, something our businesses are already well-motivated to provide. The reality is that these mandates would constrain businesses from being able to offer the kind of flexible part-time work that is crucial for many in our greatest national asset — our uniquely diverse workforce, including young people, working parents and retirees.
The scheduling ordinance that went into effect in San Francisco last year is a good example of the problem with a one-size fits all approach. It was passed without either studying the possible impacts or meaningful consultation with business. We are seeing the negative impacts of that law with businesses increasingly unable to provide more work to more people and employees unable to pick up extra hours and income. Restrictive mandates like San Francisco can discourage business development in communities that need it and negatively impact workers.
Another example is observable in Washington, D.C., where the City Council has put forth legislation that would have an adverse impact 61,000 employees who work in the District’s 2,200 restaurants as well the 93,420 workers in the District’s retail industry. The bill has been opposed by stakeholders as diverse as the National Restaurant Association and the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl. The D.C. bill was pulled from consideration before the full council yesterday, demonstrating that responsible legislators are finally recognizing the problems with restrictive scheduling legislation.
Instead of unintentionally creating a problem rather than a solution, we would ask legislators to study the issue first. We need to understand what the impact will be on those people in our communities who rely upon flexible part-time work as a first job, to continue in school or to balance the demands of their family life. The Hispanic community is making great contributions to the economy and fabric of American life. Our young people need and deserve more opportunities. Let’s not put one more hurdle in their way.
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