SEATTLE - The closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is nearly upon us, and preparation is in full effect across the city, including for companies looking to lighten the load on their commuting employees.
The Washington State Department of Transportation hasn’t been shy about the fact that this closure will be tough, especially during prime commuting hours. To that, it advises workers to adjust their schedules to work from home if possible.
But what about the people who don’t have that flexibility?
Worker advocate group Working Washington laid out some logistics in a recent press release to answer that question. For employers, it suggested the following:
- Do not rely on on-call shifts
- Provide at least two weeks’ notice of work schedules
- Accommodate workers who need to modify their availability
- Establish shift-swapping systems for employees
- Waive discipline for employees who arrive late due to transportation issues
- Contribute to transportation costs (i.e. paying an Orca card)
It’s also worth noting that Seattle’s secure scheduling law requires the two-week notice on schedules, that employers provide limitations on-call shifts, and accommodate worker availability. Additionally, the law provides incentives for shift-switching systems.
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“Honestly, it’s mostly just about respecting that workers are human beings who have lives, and our time counts too,” Working Washington’s Sage Wilson told MyNorthwest.
In jobs where shifts are staggered — like at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest — it’s best to take advantage as much as possible, to ensure that commuters are spread evenly across the day.
Companies like AirBnB, Chase, Nordstrom, and Amazon even signed up for the “Move the Needle” pledge, promising to “encourage employees to take advantage of alternative commute modes and flexwork options,” and “educate employees about the upcoming viaduct closure (to) communicate new or existing commute policies and benefits.”
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