Mayor de Blasio Passes Laws to Protect Fast Food and Retail Workers

Previously, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that his administration plans to implement greater protections to New York City’s 65,000 hourly fast food employees. Recently, the mayor signed several bills into law that affect the fast food industry, including one that protects workers from last-minute schedule changes. Additionally, Mayor de Blasio signed a bill that prohibits on-call scheduling for retail employees.

Under Intro 1396, fast food chains with more than 30 locations nationwide are required to give non-salaried employees their work schedules at least two weeks in advance. If the work schedule is changed after the 14 days notice, the employer must provide the worker with additional compensation. Employers are not required to provide additional compensation when a store cannot open or continue to operate due to inclement weather that poses a risk to employee safety. However, if the employer adds a shift to an employee’s schedule to cover for or replace another employee who cannot travel safely to work, the worker who is covering the shift is entitled to premium pay according to the schedule. An employer does not have to provide compensation to employees who voluntarily trade shifts with one another.

Under Intro 1388, fast food businesses will be prohibited from making their employees work “clopenings,” closing the business the night before and opening the next day, with less than 11 hours between shifts. Employees who volunteer to cover these shifts will be compensated with an additional $100. Under Intro 1995, fast food restaurants must also offer the additional work hours to current employees before they can hire new employees or subtractors (including temporary staffing agencies) to cover the shifts. When shifts become available, employers must post the number and nature of all shifts being offered and assign additional shifts to the employees who want them. All available work hours must be offered until interested employees would be required to receive overtime pay, or until all employees have refused to work the available hours, depending on which comes first.

Intro 1387 was also signed into law and prohibits on-call scheduling for workers in the retail industry. Under the law, employers are banned from scheduling a retail worker for any on-call hours (which includes requiring the employee to be available to work, to contact the employer, or wait to be contacted by the employer) before determining whether he or she must go into work. According to Mayor de Blasio, these laws will help to guarantee predictable schedules and compensation and will help workers plan for childcare, weekly budgets, and evening classes. All bills passed will take effect 180 days after Mayor de Blasio signed them into law.

If you have concerns regarding employment law issues, contact the experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com.

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