NYC Passes Fair Workweek Legislation to Help Many Employees

By Leeds Brown Law | June 1, 2017

New York City Continues to Protect Low-Wage Workers

According to Reuters, in May 2017, Mayor DeBlasio signed a package of bills that will provide additional protections and rights to some employees in New York City. The laws, collectively called the “Fair Work Week” package, will go into effect near the end of the year and “will cover some 65,000 fast food workers.” The legislation is the Mayor’s attempt to address what he feels are abuses that unfairly burden fast food and retail employees. The City Council passed the package of laws to allow these workers to have predictable schedules and predictable paychecks.

Fair Work Week Package to Provide Predictability

Not everyone works Monday through Friday from nine to five. In fact, many workers have hours that vary from week to week, often on short, even last minute, notice. New York City is determined to change these practices with the fair work week package. The official NYC website states that unfair and inconsistent scheduling practices in the fast food and retail industries have left “workers with little sense of when they will work and how much they will earn. Such practices have made it too difficult for hundreds of thousands of low-wage earners in New York City to obtain additional employment, plan for child or elder care, or further their education.”

Key Components of NYC’s New Workplace Fairness Legislation

  • Predictable Scheduling
    • The new package will require fast food employers to schedule shifts and provide a written notice of the work schedule at least two weeks in advance or pay employees extra for shift changes. If the employer changes the schedule of an employee with fewer than 14 days’ notice, the employer must pay the worker a premium. Hopefully, the prospect of financial penalties will encourage businesses to engage in better planning.
  • Break Requirements
    • The law will ensure that fast food workers have at least 11 hours of break time between shifts. The purpose of this provision is to regulate what the industry commonly calls “clopenings,” which is when an employee closes up the business and then reopens it the next shift, sometimes with very few hours in between.
  • Extra Shift Priority
    • Under the new package, fast food establishments will have to offer new shifts to existing employees before hiring new workers to cover them.
  • Retailers: No “on-call” Shifts
    • There is also a bill in the Fair Work Week package that applies to retailers with more than 20 employees. Such retailers will no longer be permitted to schedule “on call” shifts “which force employees to check in with their employers on little to no notice about whether they will be working on any given day.”

NYC Legislative Package Will Help Thousands of Employees

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito proudly stated, “These measures represent significant steps forward in protecting local fast food and retail employees from unfair, unsustainable and unpredictable workplace practices and environments.”

According to statistics, nearly 1 in 5 workers in America has an unstable work schedule. Approximately 40% of workers between ages 26 and 32 receive less than one week of notice about their work days and hours. New York City is committed to providing hundreds of thousands of workers with some stability and predictability and encouraging fast food and retail businesses to embrace fairness.

Contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C.

Leeds Brown is a full-service employees’ rights firm representing fast food, retail, restaurant and all other workers on Long Island, in New York City and the surrounding areas. If you have an unpaid wage, discrimination or other workplace problem, contact our office at 1-800-585-4658.



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