San Francisco Passes Law Requiring Two Weeks’ Advance Notice of Employee Schedule Changes

The decline in union membership–below 7 percent in the private sector economy–has had one salutary effect. It has led some states and cities to enact pro-worker laws, filling in the vacuum where employers and unions used to negotiate on matters such as wages and hours of work.

In San Francisco, for example, the Board of Supervisors last week passed a law requiring any “formula retailer” (retail chain) with 20 or more locations worldwide that employs 20 or more people within the city to provide two weeks’ notice for any change in a worker’s schedules. An employer that doesn’t give proper notice will be required to provide additional “predictability pay.”

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights also requires employers to pay part-time employees the same starting hourly wage as full-time employees in the same job, and to give part-time employees the same access to time off enjoyed by full-time workers and equal eligibility for promotion.

The rules also apply to property service contractors that provide janitorial or security services for these retailers.

New York City, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, Delaware, New York and Michigan lawmakers are considering such measures also.

What’s motivating these laws? Start with the fact that  the 41 percent of early-career workers are in hourly jobs, and 47 percent who work part time got advance notice of only a week or less on their work schedules, according to a recent University of Chicago study.

There’s also legislation pending in Congress to limit fluctuations in hours for employees scheduled to work on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It won’t pass in the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress, but it is indicative of a gathering movement in this country to create a more level playing field between employers and workers.

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