There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the importance of flexible and predictable work schedules, particularly for working mothers. I believe that everyone who is willing to work hard deserves the right to get ahead. I also believe that family is the most important priority of all working parents – even more important than the job that provides for the needs of their family.

A healthy family situation and a positive work experience are not mutually exclusive. As a working mother, I know it is possible for a parent to devote time to their families with the right work schedule. However, a one-size-fits-all approach is not necessarily the best way to help parents. That is why I was disappointed to see Assembly Bill 357 (Chiu) – a bill that applies a cookie-cutter approach to scheduling employees in the food and retail industries.

Advertised as the “Fair Scheduling Act,” AB 357 would remove employee flexibility and require California food and retail establishments to set workers schedules in stone at least two weeks ahead of time.

It was disappointing to see that this legislation was highlighted as a positive step forward when, unfortunately, it does the opposite by reducing the flexibility needed by working moms—as well as all working parents. It also discourages employers from offering employees additional hours of work on short-notice to accommodate unexpected increases in business.

Every industry—from restaurants to retail—schedules employees based on their particular business model to ensure the ability to respond to both customer and employee needs. In fact, most retailers first obtain employee input to request time off or pick up additional hours of work. A schedule is then crafted to address employee requests, while also ensuring that customer demands are met.

Scheduling flexibility is so important, particularly for working mothers, that it’s likely the reason that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) required that it be included in one of their recent contracts. The contract between UFCW and some California grocers states, “The Employer shall post a work schedule in ink for all employees, specifying start and finish of shifts and including surname and first initial, not later than 12:00 noon on Friday preceding the first day of the following workweek.”

This begs the question, why is legislation being proposed to require that retail schedules be solidified two weeks out, which is well beyond what the bill’s sponsors believe is a fair scheduling process? Why are the sponsors then pushing for such a rigid scheduling approach that is bad for employees? AB 357 is being introduced at a time when employers are looking for ways to establish scheduling predictability to provide employees with enough hours to make ends meet, while also having the flexibility to increase work hours as their schedule permits, or request time off to attend school activities or other important family events.

Simply put, AB 357 is a poor attempt to apply a blanket regulation on California’s restaurants and retailers that is harmful to working parents and all employees. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Legislature will understand the issues with AB 357 and vote no on this legislation.

Elected in March 2015, Sharon Runner represents portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties as Senator for the 21st District. Her district includes the Antelope Valley, Victor Valley and portions of the Santa Clarita Valley. For more information, visit