Tags: San Francisco | retail workers

San Francisco Passes 'Retail Workers Bill of Rights'

Image: San Francisco Passes 'Retail Workers Bill of Rights'
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By    |   Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 04:18 PM

Retail workers in San Francisco now have stronger protection from companies changing their work schedules on short notice or loading them up with a spate of hours without their permission, Politico reports.

The city's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a new law, the "Retail Workers Bill of Rights," aimed at so-called "formula retailers" — chains that have 20 or more locations around the world and that employ 20 or more people. Under the measure, the first of its kind in the nation, retailers must now gives workers two weeks notice in advance if they change their schedules.

Employers who change work hours inside of that two weeks or fail to tell workers two weeks in advance that their schedule will be changing must offer them "predictability pay," Politico noted, calling the law akin to union protections that have fallen away in many states.

Companies must also pay part-time hourly workers the same wage as full-time workers.

Those businesses that provide contract services to such retailers — including janitors or security guards — are also subject to the new law, Politico said.

While the city's Chamber of Commerce bemoaned the law, the supervisor who helped to sponsor it said it was badly needed. About 59 percent of all workers nationwide are paid hourly. The measure passed 10-0, the San Francisco Business Times noted.

“We know that while the economy is doing well for some, there are too many workers and families struggling in low-wage jobs with unpredictable shifts,” said Supervisor David Chiu.

Attorney Julia Parish of the Legal Aid Society's Employment Law Center agreed, noting the struggle hourly workers face in juggling family obligations like child or elder care with unpredictable scheduling that often fluctuates on short notice, Politico reported.

"This is an incredible victory for people in our city who are scraping by paycheck to paycheck and hour to hour," said Jobs with Justice San Francisco's Executive Director Gordon Mar in a statement to the Times. "San Francisco is on its way to ensuring more men and women in our community have schedules and hours that allow them to pay their bills, plan their lives and take care of their loved ones."

Some retailers had begun using complex software that tracks busiest times and even used weather as a predictor of store traffic, forcing workers to be on call at short notice, NBC News reported.

The "Just in Time" algorithms "spit out a staffing pattern to perfectly fit the expected demand for workers. But it turns out algorithms are algorithms, not reality,” Joan Williams, who directs the the University of California, Hastings' Center for Worklife Law told NBC.

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Retail workers in San Francisco now have stronger protection from companies changing their work schedules on short notice or loading them up with a spate of hours without their permission, Politico reports.
San Francisco, retail workers
439
2014-18-26
Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 04:18 PM
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