The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved a Fair Work Week ordinance on Nov. 21 that is intended to make work schedules more predictable for retail workers. The ordinance, which will impact 70,000 retail and grocery workers citywide, is expected to go into effect in April 2023, pending a final vote at a second reading by the council next week.
“As we enter the holiday shopping season, we are reminded of our responsibility to support and protect our retail and grocery workers,” said Councilman Curren Price, 9th District. “We must recognize the gaps and wide range of concerns faced by workers, and put their needs over the profits of corporations. These new regulations will provide employees – many of whom are people of color and live paycheck to paycheck – predictability, stability and flexibility in their work schedules, while demonstrating respect and appreciation for them and their families. Besides being the right thing to do, these protections will make it easier for Angelenos to balance their family and work lives, and to plan ahead.”
The policy, which was co-introduced in 2019 by Price and Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, will require employers to provide 14 days advance notice of work schedules, as well as predictability pay for last minute schedule changes or canceled shifts. Employees will have the right to accept or decline extra hours added on short notice, and employers must provide mandatory rest periods. Workers must have at least 10 hours rest between shifts or will be given additional pay.
The new policy will also grant employees the right to request scheduling accommodations and to decline shifts, even if their employers offer them overtime pay. Employees will receive a “good faith estimate” for their work hours and will be offered additional hours prior to new temporary workers being hired to fill their positions.
“This is a hard-fought, historic victory for Los Angeles retail workers,” said Amardeep Gill, director of the grocery and retail campaign at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. “When we launched the Fair Work Week L.A. campaign five years ago, we envisioned a Los Angeles retail economy that provides reliable jobs and stable incomes for working families. We are one step closer to that reality. Retail workers will finally be able to plan their budgets, care for their families and juggle work and school.”
Reports indicate that 77% of Los Angeles retail workers have unpredictable, last-minute and fluctuating work schedules, impacting their ability to plan ahead for family, school and other commitments. The Fair Work Week policy will allow retail workers to establish a schedule that is stable, sustainable and predictable.
“There have been times when I am scheduled to close at midnight and expected to come the next day at 6 a.m.” said Heidy Lopez, a UFCW 770 member who works at Food4Less. “That means that I leave work around 12:30 a.m., get home around 1 a.m., get up by 5 a.m. so that I can be back by 6 a.m. Then I have to be alert and focused, with a smile on my face.”
“I am a single father who supports four children,” grocery worker Oscar Beltran told the council. “Even though I get a two weeks-notice of my schedule, it constantly changes with less than a day’s notice. The Fair Work Week policy is critical for single working parents like myself who need to be able to plan for childcare.”
The retail industry is the second largest employer in Los Angeles. A majority of retail workers from communities of color and identify as women.
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