Fair Work Week Legislation Could Pose a Problem to Your Restaurant

Steve O'ConnorEmployee Management, Restaurant, Small Business TrendsLeave a Comment

Fair Work Week legislation has been introduced that could implement regulations within the restaurant industry regarding scheduling practices. Ensuring your restaurant is using best scheduling practices is crucial to your restaurant’s reputation during the sustainable scheduling debate.

Legislation has been presented in 9 states – California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Oregon – that, if passed, would regulate the scheduling practices of food and retail employers. Proposed regulations would involve the number of days a schedule must be posted prior to the workweek, the number of hours employees have off in between shifts, and the usage of “on call” scheduling. The restaurant industry in states with proposed sustainable scheduling bills will be largely affected if the legislation passes. A similar referendum passed in Washington that bars employers from hiring more part-time employees if existing part-time employees desire more hours.

Combating Public Scrutiny of the Restaurant Industry

Public perception and skepticism of restaurants’ treatment of their employees stems from the business practices of on-call scheduling and overstaffing in preparation for no shows; it is difficult to condone the widespread abuse of employees’ time. As a restaurant owner, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your employees are satisfied in their positions because they play a huge part in forming your customers’ first impression of your business.

Parquet Public Affairs Managing Partner Joe Kefauver noted that restaurant owners need publicly to highlight the importance of flexible scheduling and the effect it has on the day-to-day in-house operations. Kefauver stated, “We need to do an even better job internally to make sure we are not using practices in our workplaces that make us easy targets for attack.” Issuing best hiring and scheduling practices in your restaurant will prevent outside scrutiny from affecting how you run your business. He continues, “The industry is doing a good job quickly coordinating a defense against these workweek proposals, but it is a huge mountain to climb.”

Employee Satisfaction is Half the Game

Keeping your employees satisfied with their positions is crucial to your restaurant’s image. A lack of employee complaints about your restaurant’s operations does great things for your business reputation. The National Restaurant Association offers some tips to help your employees reach their full potential and stay satisfied with their job.

  • Put things in writing. Full clarity and disclosure with your employees prevents workplace confusion and shows them that you, as the restaurant owner, can be held accountable.
  • Make sure you abide by the same rules and expectations that you have set for your employees to strengthen your accountability and maintain equal treatment in all of your business practices.
  • Offer feedback. Constructive criticism only helps your business flow by making your employees better at their job, but do so in a way that does not patronize your employees or downplay their worth. Remember, they are at the forefront of the customer service side of your business.
  • Invite dialogue. Promote an environment that welcomes open communication between management and employees.

You can never invest too much time in making sure your employees are happy. A productive and satisfied workforce shows solid business practices and reaffirms the perception that you are sensitive to workers’ needs.


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