Small businesses in Maine with five or more employees – heads up! L.D. 1345, a bill with a public hearing Wednesday, would have Augusta become a partner in writing your schedule, which is demanded 14 days in advance.

This language originates from Seattle. This very progressive city’s ordinance earmarked only certain industries for compliance, and set an employee threshold of 500 worldwide. How did a 500-employee-worldwide threshold in limited industries in Seattle morph into a five-employee threshold in Maine, where 99.3% of our businesses are small and every industry is affected? Only Rep. Gina Melaragno, the bill’s primary sponsor, can answer that.

This bill’s sponsors clearly don’t understand the very real reasons why employers and employees across a wide range of industries require a more fluid scheduling process. These reasons range from employees quitting without notice or calling in sick to last-minute cancellations, reservations or work orders, unsafe weather conditions and death – let’s talk about death.

A funeral home that has hourly workers would be required to create a 14-day schedule and would be penalized for changes within that 14-day period. The last time I checked, 14-day notice isn’t possible for the end of life. It’s also not possible for a restaurant to host a bereavement reception without penalty for this type of gathering. If you’re following along, a landscaper shouldn’t be penalized for rain, either, because in the end the penalties will be paid by the consumers.

This type of policy is unreasonable and impractical for the operation of a small business. Contractors, artisans with a staff of five, landscapers and restaurants – and every small Maine business – we must have the ability to remain fluid and flexible to meet customer demands and expectations in a state where weather can shut us down or raise us up.

Wendyll Caisse

Freeport


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