The Sum & Substance

Massive changes to service industries hang in balance

Restaurants and retailers say that flexible scheduling is necessary for their operations and attractive to their employees. Labor advocates say that the practice is destructive to the health and finances of workers, particularly single mothers.

And on Thursday, legislators will be asked to weigh in on the issue, by determining whether the idea of flexible scheduling in the restaurant, retail and food-and-beverage manufacturing industries must go away, to be replaced by the growing concept of “predictive scheduling.” At stake, leaders in those industries say, is nothing less than a potential complete overhaul of business models in some of the state’s largest sectors.

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