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In a change from his original stance, Councilmember Brandon Todd currently opposes a bill that would require food service and retail businesses that have more than 40 locations across the country to give employees advance notice about their schedules.
In addition to fining business owners for scheduling their employees’ shifts with little notice, the bill also requires employers to offer more hours to already-hired part-time employees before hiring more workers. The bill also mandates businesses to pay part-time workers the same as full-time employees.
Todd, who represents Ward 4, said at a hearing Thursday that, though he originally co-sponsored the bill, he does not support it in its current form after talking to the “stakeholders” who could be affected. Todd mentioned restaurants like Ben’s Chili Bowl, Sweetgreen, and Georgetown Cupcake have “serious reservations” about how the bill would affect their businesses.
“I want to see continued success with those local businesses because they employ our residents and that is key,” Todd said. In a statement, Todd added that he’s afraid the bill “would prevent businesses… from wanting to expand to 40 locations.”
“At the same time, I am concerned that entrepreneurs would be hesitant in opening new businesses within the District, because once they reach beyond 40 establishments, they would have to comply with this rigid scheduling law,” Todd continued. “If we continue to pass bills which limit the ability of our businesses to expand, we will set a hard cap on our economic potential as a city.”
At the hearing, Todd suggested the Council establish a 15-member task force to look at the effects that the bill would have on local businesses before the city takes action on the bill.
Christina Harper, a spokeswoman for Mayor Muriel Bowser, said the administration is reviewing the bill and will work with the “Council and stakeholders on striking the right balance between worker friendly initiatives and employer mandates.”
Using the ReferenceUSA database, D.C. Jobs With Justice estimates that 1,106 establishments—609 retail businesses with 14,379 employees and 497 food service businesses with 10,390 employees—would be affected. This accounts for more than 21 percent of retail establishments in D.C. and more than 19 percent of food service businesses.