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Businesses decry bill requiring 14 days notice for work schedules

State House Bureau

February 06. 2018 11:31PM

CONCORD — Representatives of the state’s retail, hospitality and entertainment industry came out in force against a bill sponsored by Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, that requires employers to give 14 days notice of work schedules.

“No one should have to choose between work and family,” Feltes said in introducing the bill before the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

“With some advance notice in scheduling, workers can better plan their lives, retain their jobs, and we can move to an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

Representatives of the state Lodging and Restaurant Association, Retail Association and Theater Owners of New England described SB 422 as intrusive and unnecessary regulation.

“We think this is ripe for a parade of people to the Department of Labor with disputes, when that could easily be avoided,” said lobbyist Curtis Barry, representing the retailers. “This imposes a very rigid scheme on businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

Business representatives said the current system, in which most employers schedule one week in advance, is working fine.

“We schedule only a week out, and for the 35 years I’ve been in business, we’ve been able to accommodate everyone,” said committee member Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, who owns and operates a sports bar and restaurant in Concord. “If you ask business owners, they’ll tell you the system works well today.”

A representative of the AFL-CIO spoke in support of the bill, noting that it contains a provision allowing flexibility for employers “when unforeseen staffing needs arise.”

“While employers may believe that short-notice scheduling is necessary to meet changing productivity demands and control labor costs, the negatives for employees include constant economic uncertainty and the inability to plan in advance for child care, continuing education or a second job,” according to Glenn Brackett, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

New Hampshire has more than 100,000 workers in the retail and food service sector, the industries in which part-time or lower-wage jobs are most likely to be combined with variable work schedules.

“This bill is critically important for working families and one of the most important pieces of legislation we are going to deal with in this session,” said Feltes.

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