The measure is especially concerning given the numerous businesses that have recently announced they are laying off high numbers of staff, as well as, the large quantity of businesses who have publicized closing their doors and leaving San Jose for good.
Some businesses that are planning on moving into the city have publicly said they will not do so if this initiative becomes law. The potential for this measure to cause unintended harm has San Jose approaching a tipping point where it will be less and less feasible to successfully operate a business. Business owners are already contending with high minimum wage rates, increases in business licensing fees and sales taxes, and many other costly regulations at the state and local levels.
In order to combat the myriad of regulations impacting their operations, restaurants are being forced to raise their prices just to meet the multiple increases in expenses and stay afloat. When raising prices isn't enough, restaurants will need to cut staffing levels - a counterproductive outcome for a city council working to create more jobs for San Jose residents.
By restricting additional employment opportunities to the existing staff within a restaurant, the initiative may also lead to a deficit of teen employment opportunities and seasonal employment opportunities.
The reality of the restaurant community is that it is very expensive to hire and train new employees, which is why in many cases, existing employees already earn additional hours in the place of new hires. For others, working in the restaurant industry part-time allows for the development of new skills, flexible work in retirement and as a way for students to support their educations.
While an "Opportunity to Work" initiative may sound good to voters on its surface, the ramifications of taking hiring decisions out of the hands of business owners are enormous. In fact, the proposed law is so confusing that it is difficult to determine when, where, and how the law even applies.
Instead, this initiative will expose local employers to frivolous litigation and mountains of administrative paperwork. Enforcement will also be a drain on the city's budget and staff resources at a time when municipal resources are strained and still recovering from the last recession - with the chance of a new recession on the not-too-distant horizon.
For these reasons, the CRA is joining local business groups in the hope of defeating this poorly crafted initiative. If you would like to stay connected on developments of our efforts please reach out to Jessica Lynam, Director of Local Government Affairs- Bay Area, at firstname.lastname@example.org.