Work at a big company like Starbucks? Know your rights.
Work at a big company like Starbucks? Know your rights. Stephen Chernin/Getty

If you're an hourly employee at Starbucks, REI, or another large food or retail company in Seattle, you're about to get more control over your work schedule.

Seattle's new secure scheduling law, passed in September, takes effect tomorrow.

The law applies to retail stores and fast food/coffee companies with more than 500 employees worldwide and to full-service restaurants with both more than 500 employees and more than 40 locations. (That means it doesn't cover prominent local restauranteurs like Ethan Stowell and Tom Douglas.) Unionized workplaces are exempt if their contracts include scheduling policies similar to the law.

So, if you work at one of those big companies, here's what your boss owes you:

• Two weeks' advance notice of your work schedule

• If your boss adds hours to your schedule later, you get one hour's worth of extra "predictability pay" at your normal hourly rate.

• If you're scheduled to work but sent home early, you're owed pay for half of the time you were scheduled to work, but didn't.

• Employers are exempt from these predictability pay requirements if you voluntarily change your own schedule or if the boss communicates about shifts they need picked up at the last minute through group communication (rather than requiring you to work extra shifts).

• No clopenings unless you agree—and, if you do, extra money. If you work a closing shift and then an opening shift the next day with less than 10 hours between them, you're owed time-and-a-half for the hours that fall within the 10-hour window. (This does not ban doubles or split shifts.)

• When you're hired as a new employee, your employer must provide a "good faith estimate" of how many hours you can expect to work.

• Employers must offer extra hours to current employees before hiring new workers

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In the past, the city has done a notoriously shitty job of enforcing its labor protections. In hopes of fixing that, the mayor and city council approved funding last fall to double the size of the Office of Labor Standards, which handles enforcement. Secure scheduling will be another test of whether Seattle can not just pass progressive labor laws, but enforce them, too.

If you're not getting the right minimum wage, sick time, or scheduling protections, get in touch with the Office of Labor Standards here or the Fair Work Center here.

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