New Laws Affecting New York City Retail and Fast Food Workers

New Laws Affecting New York City Retail and Fast Food Workers

On May 30, 2017, the Mayor of New York City (“NYC”) signed into law five bills related to workplace reform in the retail and fast food industries. These laws are set to take effect on November 26, 2017.

New Laws Applicable to Retail Industry in NYC

Intro 1387 (On-Call Scheduling), bans the practice of on-call scheduling for retail employees in NYC. The law applies only to retail employers with twenty or more employees at one or more stores within NYC. Under this new law, an employer will be prohibited from (1) scheduling a retail employee for an on-call shift; (2) cancelling a work shift with fewer than 72 hours’ notice; (3) requiring a retail employee to work with fewer than 72 hours’ notice, unless the employee consents to working in writing; and (4) requiring a retail employee to contact an employer to confirm whether the employee should report for his/her scheduled shift in the 72 hours before the start of the shift. However, a retail employer is permitted to make schedule changes or cancel shifts within the 72 hour window if it is to give an employee time off or to allow an employee to voluntarily trade shifts with another employee or if the employer’s operations cannot begin or continue.

New Laws Applicable to Fast Food Industry in NYC

Intro 1388 (Consecutive Work Shifts), bans fast food employers from having employees work consecutive shifts by working both the closing of the restaurant and the opening of the restaurant the next day, with fewer than eleven hours in between the shifts. If an employer schedules an employee for what has been termed “clopening” back-to-back shifts, it must pay the employee an additional $100. However, there is an exception to this law if the fast food employee requests to work a “clopening” shift or consents to working such shift in writing.

Intro 1395 (Shifts to Current Employees), requires fast food employers to offer available work shifts to current employees before hiring additional employees. An employer must clearly post the number and nature of all available shifts being offered and assign such shifts to any employee who responds to the offer of work. Employers are required to offer all available hours until interested employees would be required to receive overtime pay, or until all current employees have rejected the available hours, whichever comes first.

Intro 1396 (Fair Work Week), requires that fast food employers provide employees with an estimate of their work schedule upon hire and provide regular work schedules outlining all shifts with 14 days’ advanced notice for a period of at least 7 days. All regular and on-call shifts that the employee will be required to work or be available to work should be included on the schedule. This law also requires that fast food employers pay the following premiums to the employee when making a scheduling change:

  • $10 for each shift that’s added to that advance notice schedule with less than 14 days’ notice but at least 7 days’ notice.
  • $15 for each shift that’s added to that advance notice schedule with less than 7 days’ notice.
  • $20 for each shift that’s cancelled or subtracted from that advance notice schedule, with less than 14 days’ notice but at least 7 days’ notice.
  • $45 for each shift that’s cancelled or subtracted from that advance notice schedule, with less than 7 days’ notice, but at least 24 hours’ notice.
  • $75 for each shift that’s cancelled or reduced less than 24 hours before the shift.

A fast food employer will not be required to pay the above-mentioned premiums in the following circumstances:

  • The employee requests the change in writing or voluntarily trades shifts with another employee;
  • The employer is required to pay the employee overtime for a changed shift; or
  • An event occurs prohibiting the employer’s ability to operate, such as:
    • Threats to the employees or employer’s property;
    • Failure of public utilities or the shutdown of public transportation;
    • A fire, flood or other natural disaster; or
    • A state of emergency declared by the federal, state or city government.

The Office of Labor Standards, currently operating under the Department of Consumer Affairs, has the authority to impose civil penalties of $500 for the first violation of this regulation and up to $1,000 after multiple violations.

Intro 1384 (Payroll Deduction), provides fast food workers with the ability to make voluntary contributions to not-for-profit organizations of their choice through payroll deductions. The purpose of this legislation is to make it easier for employees to support advocacy organizations working on their behalf. The law outlines standards for organizations eligible to receive the contributions. It also establishes a minimum contribution of $6 per biweekly paycheck and $3 per weekly paycheck in order to minimize the burden to the employer.

Employer Take Away: NYC retail and fast food employers should review and revise their scheduling policies and procedures in order to comply with the new laws.

Contributor:  Katie A. Veatch, Attorney at Law | Weintraub Tobin