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Echo Park in Los Angeles (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

New LA Ordinance Requires Retail Workers Get Work Schedules Two Weeks In Advance

Ordinance also gives employees the right to extra pay for sudden shift changes, the right to mandatory rest periods of at least 10 hours between shifts

By Evan Symon, November 30, 2022 7:23 pm

The Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance on Tuesday to give approximately 70,000 retail workers in Los Angeles expanded rights, including being provided work schedules at least 14 days in advance and mandatory rest periods in between shifts.

Originally proposed by Councilman Curren Price in 2019, the Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance has been changed and edited throughout the last 3 years. The COVID-19 pandemic and other disruption helped delay Council votes on the ordinance, resulting in a more refined set of new laws for workers. Similar laws passed in New York, Oregon, San Francisco, and Seattle all helped alter the update more during this time as well. Before the vote on Tuesday, the ordinance proposed the following:

  • A fourteen day advance work notice of the schedule
  • A good faith estimate of work hours being given to each employee, with the offer of additional hours before new or temporary workers are hired
  • Additional pay during last minute schedule changes and canceled shifts
  • Mandatory rest periods between shifts of at least 10 hours, or additional pay if shifts are below 10 hours
  • The right to accept or decline additional hours wanted less than two weeks in advance
  • The right for requesting scheduling accommodations, as well as the right to decline shifts under that even if offered overtime pay
  • Employees will not be required to find replacements during scheduled hours if out of work for reasons covered by other laws
  • Employers will need to offer additional hours before new hires
  • Employers can be fined up to $500 per violation
  • The ordinance is to go into effect in April 2023
  • Only retail businesses with 300 or more employees globally will be covered under the ordinance

Councilman Price said he wrote the ordinance over a growing list of concerns from retail workers in the city, most notably the unpredictability of scheduling as well as employers forcing some employees to work multiple shifts in a row when another employee was out.

“We must recognize the gaps and wide range of concerns faced by our workers, and we must put their needs over corporate profits,” Councilman Price said. “This is the least we can do to give them our sincere appreciation and thanks for the work that they do.”

A UCLA study cited in the ordinance found that 80% of 140,000 Angelinos who work in retail have unpredictable, last-minute and fluctuating work weeks over which they have no control, with 75% receiving less than a weeks notice on scheduling.

Following passage on Tuesday, other members of the Council noted the positives  about voting for the ordinance, with Council President Paul Krekorian stating that “The ordinance is a catalytic change in the way the retail industry is going to be operating in our city.”

Councilman Paul Koretz added that “Its passage one of the proudest moments of the L.A. City Council. It makes a lot of things in life possible and functional without causing an undue harm to the employers,” with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez also praising the ordinance, saying that “It represents the strength and the value of the labor movement. This monumental change and adoption of this new ordinance is going to help, I believe, be a catalytic force in helping to assist us in uplifting more families out of poverty.”

Fair Work Week Ordinance passage

While a sweeping change, many labor experts said that, once implemented next April, it may lead to numerous issues that the City Council is not seeing.

“The Council is flat out ignoring what happens when retailers need extra people on the floor due to the volume of customers,” said Shania Roberts, a labor coordinator and staffer, to the Globe on Wednesday. “Offering more hours, ok, that’s fine, but there are times, like holiday crunches, when more hours going to one person won’t cut it when more people are needed instead. And they’re ignoring those needs. Like, under the ordinance, if you have two people on the cash registers and the holiday influx demands more and you want some holiday help, you have to ask those employees if they are willing to work extra hours first rather than get more people first. It’s crazy.”

“Employers also need flexible hours and schedules because of how many employees leave or don’t show up at wanted times. But now it has to have a two week schedule in advance, so if people are out all the sudden, it will be even more of a scramble.”

“But there are also a lot of ways employers can still avoid these ordinances, or still make it that employees are responsible. Pay docking, the addition of more working violations, mandatory shift times, and other measures can be instituted. The Council did not cover all the bases here. Whoever wrote this missed out on a lot of areas where employers can do something else entirely, as well as the fact they are now going to hire the fewest people possible and increase automation where they can to further reduce the number of employees. So, bravo LA City Council, you are making good people lose their jobs and giving employers leeway around the ordinance because you didn’t make the ordinance airtight.”

A final vote on the ordinance is expected next week.

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5 thoughts on “New LA Ordinance Requires Retail Workers Get Work Schedules Two Weeks In Advance

  1. Why would any business want to operate in LA when Marxist Democrats on the LA City Council who have never run a business are dictating how business owners need to run their businesses?

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