New ‘Fair Workweek’ legislation hammers hospitality industry

By Marilou Halvorsen
New Jersey | Feb 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Op-Ed

The misleading “Fair Workweek” legislation will limit opportunities for workers seeking part-time or flexible shifts and place undue burdens on employers attempting to staff their small businesses. A one-size-fits-all approach to regulating restaurants fails to recognize the unique needs of individual businesses, employers and workers.

As a recent Gallup poll demonstrates, the majority of America’s nonsalaried, hourly workers are satisfied with variable work hours and the flexibility they can provide. A few highlights from the results include:

  • 67% say their variable hours do not cause them financial hardship;
  • 69% are satisfied with their weekly hours;
  • 52% say they would prefer their hours to vary.

Nothing is more important to New Jersey’s foodservice operators than the health, safety and satisfaction of our team members. It is for these reasons we do not support business practices such as “on-call scheduling” and support practical regulations restricting such practices. Ideally, restaurants would love to forecast two weeks out, but that is not realistic. Also — it should be noted that 85% of schedule changes are initiated by employees.

This bill will have a detrimental impact on our seasonal businesses and amusement parks that close during bad weather. Also, many servers prefer to work two “doubles” rather than four “single” shifts. We are taking that option off the table for them. It begs the question: “Who is this legislation designed to help?” 

Instead of addressing the bad practices of a few, we take a sledgehammer to the entire business community and its employees, again!

We look forward to working with a coalition of foodservice industry leaders, employers, employees and other interested partners to provide accurate and practical feedback regarding the implications of this proposed legislation before and during the public hearings process.

Marilou Halvorsen, President, New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association

The New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association represents the Garden State’s 25,000 eating and drinking establishments — the state’s largest private sector employers, generating $14.2 billion in annual sales and employing over 318,000 people.

ROI-NJ Staff | editorial@roi-nj.com | @roinjnews