Do politicians have any idea what they are doing?
In Oregon, Senate Bill 828 just passed the Senate and is now being favorably reviewed in the House. The law would require “large employers in specified industries to provide new employee[s] with estimated work schedule and to provide current employee with seven days’ notice of employee[’s] work schedule.”
But will the measure help employees? Really?
The notion is called the “Fair Work Week.” Pushed by Democrats, it has gained bipartisan support. The basic idea: allow time (under full force of law) for workers to manage their own schedules and personal economies.
Trouble is, in the name of making work easier to manage, it attacks flexibility.
Which is something many workers want. More than notification.
Indeed, the study commissioned by the City of Seattle for their similar regulatory scheme acknowledged that reducing flexibility is not necessarily a godsend for workers.
“A more predictable schedule,” the report noted, “is not always one that an employee would prefer. A schedule known with certainty is a cold comfort if it yields too little income to survive.”
The report went on to explain that many of the labor market’s scheduling inconveniences are themselves the result of other government regulations, such as ObamaCare.
Christian Britschgi, writing at Reason, predicts that passing the Oregon law would mean “a fairer worker week” for some, but for others, “no work week at all.”*
Meanwhile, the Seattle study noted that it was workers in small businesses who are most likely to be discomfited by last-minute scheduling changes. The Oregon law applies only to big businesses.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.