Op-ed on business mandates was misleading

Posted on March 03, 2017

Two separate empirical reports, as well as independent reporting from the Washington Post, have confirmed that San Francisco’s restrictive scheduling law has been anything but a “resounding success.” Unable to support this claim with their own data, Paul Sonn of the National Employment Law Project and Carrie Gleason of the Center for Popular Democracy make a clumsy attempt to criticize the work of my organization.

We worked with a third-party survey research firm to identify and contact 52 large restaurant and retail businesses impacted by the law. (San Francisco’s law applies to a broad category of businesses described as “formula retail.”) The results, which Sonn and Gleason misreport, show that 35% of these employers were offering employees less flexibility to change their schedules, one in five were offering fewer part-time positions, and a similar number were scheduling fewer employees per shift.

The only criticism that Sonn and Gleason muster has to do with a technicality of the rule-making process. The facts are clear: The law took effect on July 3, 2015, and its operative date (when fines began for employers) was three months later. Even the advocacy group that Sonn’s organization worked with to pass the law reported that it was helping implement it during this window. So it’s not surprising that the businesses we surveyed in late 2015 and early 2016 were able to speak knowledgeably about their early experiences with the law.