NEW NYC FAIR WORK WEEK LEGISLATION GIVES PROTECTIONS TO FAST FOOD AND RETAIL WORKERS

On May 30, 2017 New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio signed into law five bills recently passed by the New York City Council intended to regulate scheduling and workplace management practices in the retail and fast food industries. The package, known as the “Fair Work Week” legislation, provides several new protections for these workers.

For fast food workers, the law requires employers to give 14 days’ notice before scheduling shifts. If an employer violates this requirement, it must pay the employee a premium which increases based on how little notice an employee is given before the schedule is changed. The law bans “clopening” shifts where an employee works back-to-back closing and opening shifts unless the employee consents in writing and the employer pays an additional $100, and the law requires employers to offer shifts to existing employees before hiring additional workers to fill those shifts. The law also allows fast food employees to authorize contributions to non-profit organizations through payroll deductions.

For retail workers, employers may no longer use “on-call” scheduling, a practice where an employer requires a worker to be available during a shift and either wait for a call to come in or contact the employer on the day of the shift to find out whether to come in. The law also requires 72 hours of notice before cancellation or scheduling of a shift, and only allows cancellation or scheduling of a shift within 72 hours if the employee requests or consents to the change, or there is an event that prevents the employer from operating that day, like a natural disaster or fire.

“Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks should be a right, not a privilege,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With these bills, we are continuing to build a fairer and more equitable city for all New Yorkers.”

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