Like many conservatives, the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Annie Spilman has concerns about the proliferation of local government overregulation. In a February 2019 Statesman article, Spilman said:
There’s a point when there’s so much regulation that [small employers] can’t focus on their business or on their employees. We’re finding more and more and more that cities are trying to implement private employment practices on top of what the state is doing and on top of what the feds are doing.[emphasis mine]
The growing unease over municipal micromanagement has led state lawmakers to file four preemption bills this session: Senate Bills 2485, 2486, 2487, and 2488. If this legislative package can make it across the finish line, then much of this concern could be addressed.
Of the four bills making their way through the process now, the second bill, SB 2486, deals with scheduling practices and overtime compensation—with a particular eye toward predictive scheduling.
The practice of predictive scheduling was explained by Shelby Sterling in her testimony before the Texas House Committee on State Affairs earlier this year:
Predictive scheduling also referred to as fair scheduling, would require businesses to provide employees with their schedules a certain amount of days in advance. There are different versions of predictive scheduling laws that cities have adopted, each with varying components. However, one consistent component remains in each law: penalty provisions.
Generally, if an employer violates the advance notice requirement for an employee, that employer will be required to pay costly penalties for those shifts worked without advance notice. Some ordinances require the employer to pay the employee time and a half. Others require the employer to pay the employee compensation when they are “on call” but not needed.
Mandating predictive scheduling is another example of government overreach into the private affairs of the employer-employee relationship. It is another component that should be left for negotiation between an employer and employee because one-size-fits-all mandates may not be in either party’s best interest.
It’s such bad policy that many other states, like Georgia and Alabama, have already preempted this type of mandate. With the passage of SB 2486, Texas can become the next state to do so and ensure its economic freedom.