Chicago Workers to City Council: Leave our Schedules Alone

New poll confirms Chicago workers making $50,000 or less are overwhelmingly satisfied with their current work schedule and reject City Council attempts to impose Restrictive Scheduling mandates

(Chicago, IL – February 14, 2019) –A new poll released today by the Work Your Way coalition shows an overwhelming majority of hourly workers in Chicago making $50,000 or less annually are satisfied with their current work schedules and believe employees and employers – not the Chicago City Council – should be the ones to make changes to scheduling practices in the city.

Chicago workers surveyed rejected the key elements of a restrictive scheduling ordinance being considered in the City Council.  If passed, restrictive scheduling would severely limit or eliminate flexible scheduling options for workers in the city who make less than $50,000.  Chicago will also become the only city in the country that penalizes employers who offer flexible scheduling options to employees, in every industry, who make less than $50,000, while simultaneously discouraging small business growth.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • Over eight in ten (83%) hourly workers are satisfied with the amount of advance notice they currently receive at their jobs – regardless of the number of days in advance notice.
  • If the City Council were to impose new, across-the-board restrictive scheduling requirements, nearly nine out of ten (88%) say they should have the choice to decide if the new regulations should apply to them.
  • 76% of workers are satisfied with their ability to meet their scheduling needs, as well as the needs of their family.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of workers are satisfied with their employer’s efforts to be flexible and support work-life balance.
  • 77% of workers say scheduling changes should be decided between employees and employers, not determined by a mandate from the Chicago City Council.

“Workers indicate a potential ordinance mandating scheduling requirements in Chicago is a solution in search of a problem,” says Matt Rodriquez, founder of Rodriquez Strategies, who conducted the survey on behalf of Work Your Way.  “Chicago hourly workers making less than $50,000 annually are satisfied with their current scheduling options and express no desire for a change in the law mandating advance scheduling requirements.”

Workplace flexibility in scheduling is critical for employees and employers who rely on the ability to request changes in their schedules when unplanned issues arise, such as childcare, illnesses, weather-related issues, school programs and other circumstances.  For example:

  • 55% of workers surveyed indicated they request some alteration of their schedule, with 35% saying they request more hours at some point in a typical month.
  • 60% are currently able to pick up more hours or drop more hours if they need through trading or gaining extra shifts.

Additionally, when presented with five potential scheduling scenarios, 71% of workers indicated they have personally experienced a situation when they needed last-minute  or more flexibility in their schedules.

  • Almost half (48%) have needed to change their work schedule at the last minute in order to coordinate with a family member or child.
  • 45% have had to stack their schedules in one part of the week to give them more freedom in another part of the week.
  • More than one-third (35%) have needed to ask their employer for more hours or shifts to pay for unplanned expenses, with less than 14 days notice.
  • One-third (33%) needed to find a new job that gave them more flexibility in their scheduling options.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) have had a need to make a last minute schedule change at one job because a better opportunity opened up at another job.

“I have children in elementary school and this new ordinance prohibits me from accommodating my children's unpredictable schedules,” said Stacy Moorehead, a server at Old Grounds Social near DePaul University.  “I’m fortunate to have the ability to switch my schedule on short notice when issues come up and restricting my ability to have a flexible schedule will be difficult for my family.”

The overwhelming majority of workers surveyed indicated the City Council should not impose across-the-board scheduling mandates restricting the ability of employees to work with their employers to swap shifts, stack their schedules, pick up additional hours or make changes to their schedules with less than 14 days advance notice – all which would be prohibited under the new ordinance.

  • Among those who currently receive their schedules between zero and six days in advance, 82% prefer the flexibility over locking in their schedules 14 days in advance.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of workers prefer flexible scheduling options compared to only 17% who say they prefer locking their scheduling in 14 days in advance. 
  • Female workers, black workers and younger workers are most likely to prefer flexible scheduling options over locking their schedules in 14 days in advance
    • 78% of female workers prefer flexible scheduling
    • 78% of black workers prefer flexible scheduling
    • 73% of Millennials and 77% of Generation X workers prefer flexible scheduling

“When I started at Vanille, I was an hourly employee and having scheduling flexibility was a necessity given the seasonal and event driven demands of our business,” said Leslie McDavid, Operations Manager for Vanille Patisserie that has four locations in Chicago, including one in Hyde Park.  “A mandatory scheduling ordinance is a bad solution to a non-existent problem and would create significant hardships on managers and employees alike.”


About the Survey

The Chicago-based survey was conducted by Rodriquez Strategies from January 26-29, 2019.  400 Chicago hourly workers making less than $50,000 annually and are registered voters were surveyed.  The survey was conducted by telephone (landline and cellular) and has a margin of error of ± 4.9%.


About the Work Your Way Coalition

Work Your Way is a coalition of Chicago employees, employers and organizations working together to save flexible scheduling options in Chicago and educate elected officials about the negative impacts of restrictive scheduling proposals.  It is a joint initiative of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Health and Hospital Association, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Illinois Restaurant Association and Illinois Retail Merchants Association. You can learn more at