The City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salasannounced that NYC’s Fair Workweek and Fast Food Deductions laws went into effect as of yesterday.
These new laws, which the City Council passed and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed earlier this year, addressed what advocates and unions said, was unfair and inconsistent scheduling practices in the fast food and retail industry, and to ensure workers are able to make direct contributions to nonprofit organizations of their choice through their employer.
However, opponents, many of which were fast food and restauarnt owners, argued the lawmakers didn’t invite input from them. and because of their lack of knowledge on how the food and bervage industry works, the meaure could well do more harm than good.
Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food workers now have the right to:
- Good Faith Estimate of Schedule:
On or before workers’ first day of work, employers must provide written schedules for the first two weeks of work with hours, dates, start and end times of shifts and written “Good Faith Estimates” (days, times, hours, locations you can expect to work during your employment). Employers must provide an updated estimate if the estimate changes.
- Advanced Notice of Work Schedules:
Employers must give workers their written work schedule at least 14 days before their first shift in the schedule. Schedules must include at least seven calendar days with dates, shift start and end times, and location(s) of all shifts. If the schedule changes, employers must contact all affected workers within 24 hours, or as soon as possible.
- Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts:
Before hiring a new employee when new shifts become available, employers must advertise shifts to existing workers in NYC first by: 1) posting information at the worksite where the shifts have become available and by directly providing the information to workers electronically, which may include via text or email; 2) giving priority to work open shifts to workers at the worksite where shifts are available; 3) giving shifts to interested workers from other worksites only when no or not enough workers from the worksite accept. Employers can only hire new workers if no current NYC workers accept the shifts by the posted deadline.
- Consent Plus $100 for “Clopening” Shifts:
Employers cannot schedule workers to work two shifts over two days when the first shift ends a day and when there are less than 11 hours between shifts (a “clopening”) UNLESS workers consent in writing AND are paid a $100 premium to work the shift.
Under the Fair Workweek Law, retail employees have the right to:
- 72 Hours’ Advance Notice of Work Schedule:
Employers must give workers their written work schedule at least 72 hours before the start of the schedule in the way the employer usually contacts workers, which may include via text and email. They must post the schedule at the workplace where all workers can see it. This schedule must include dates, shift start and end times, and location(s) of all shifts in the work schedule. If the schedule is changed, employers must update and repost the schedule and contact all affected workers.
- No On-call Shifts:
Employers cannot require workers to be ready and available to work at any time the employer demands, regardless of whether workers actually work or report to work; or to “check in” within 72 hours of a scheduled shift to find out if they should report for the shift.
- No Shift Additions with Less than 72 Hours’ Notice:
If employers want to add time or shifts to your schedule less than 72 hours before the change, workers have the right to accept or decline the change. If workers accept an additional shift, they must do so in writing.
- No Shift Cancellations with Less than 72 Hours’ Notice:
Employers cannot cancel a shift less than 72 hours before the start of the shift except under the following circumstances: threats to worker safety or employer property, public utility failure, shutdown of public transportation, fire, flood, or other natural disaster, or a government-declared state of emergency. However, workers may trade shifts voluntarily.
Under the Fast Food Deductions Law, fast food employees have the right to:
- Authorize Voluntary Deductions and Contributions to a Nonprofit:
Workers can have voluntary payments from their paycheck deducted to send to nonprofits of their choosing that have a registration letter from DCA. Deductions must begin on or before the first pay period 15 days after employers received workers’ written authorization.
- Revoke Authorization:
To end voluntary deductions and contributions, workers must submit written revocation to the nonprofit, which will send the revocation to the employer. Deductions must end on or before the first pay period 15 days after the employer received written revocation from the nonprofit.
- Receive Information about the Nonprofit:
Nonprofits to whom workers wish to make such contributions must disclose to workers its name, address, email, website (if it has one), phone number, and contact information for a person responsible for authorizations and revocations; mission, programs, and areas of focus; a list of officers and directors, including individuals earning more than $100,000 who were or are employees of the nonprofit; financial information; and proof of active not-for-profit status.
Employers cannot punish, penalize, retaliate, or take any action against employees that might stop or deter them from exercising their rights under the law. Workers can now file complaints about violations of the law and DCA will investigate. Workers can file a complaint online or by calling 311 and asking for Fair Workweek Law or Deductions Law. OLPS will keep a complainant’s identity confidential unless disclosure is necessary to complete an investigation or is required by law.
“I’m thrilled that New York City is taking concrete steps toward ensuring that shift workers get the stable, predictable schedules they need for a decent standard of living, and the dignity that all workers deserve,” said City Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington), the Council’s Deputy Leader of Policy. “These laws will help ensure fairer schedules, will give fast-food workers a pathway to full-time hours, and will create an innovative new model for fast-food workers to advocate for their rights. I want to thank the de Blasio Administration, DCACommissioner Lorelei Salas, and OLPS Director Liz Vladeck for their leadership on this critical issue.