On Sunday, November 26, 2017, employers in New York City were required to be compliant with the new employee-scheduling laws. The laws impact “retail” and “fast food” employers throughout the city. These significant changes impact; breaks between shifts, predictable hours and on-call scheduling. These laws do not impact employers in Upstate New York, however, we should be aware of any changes impacting entire industries.
Below is a summary of the 5 legal changes to the NYC fast-food and retail industries:
- Voluntary paycheck deductions: This new change allows fast-food employees to designate part of their salary to a non-profit organization. Employer’s must deduct from paychecks and provide the funds to the non-profit organization.
- Rest between shifts: This rule establishes time between shifts and bans “clopening” shifts. When an employee works a closing shift one night and opens the next day. The law prohibits these consecutive shifts unless there is an 11-hour break between shifts. However, employees can agree to clopening shifts, but must be paid $100 each time.
- Extra hours: Employers must now post additional hours for part-time workers before hiring new workers. The communication must be posted at the worksite and sent electronically. “Employers would only be required to offer hours to current employees up until the point at which the employer would be required to pay overtime, or until all current employees have rejected available hours, whichever comes first.”[i]
- Predictable scheduling: Requires employers to provide new hires an estimate of their work schedule at the start of their employment. Employers must now communicate to their existing staff their schedules 14-days in advance. “If employees receive schedule changes with less than 14-days of notice, they must be paid a premium between $10 and $75, depending on how little notice they receive.”[ii]
- On-call scheduling: Prohibits certain retail businesses from requiring workers to be on- call. The new law also states that employers cannot cancel, change or add shifts with 72-hours and they must post the schedule 72-hours in advance. There are additional exceptions for workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.
These significant legal changes are a result of the “fight for $15” movement, that we have seen in major cities across the United States. The fight for $15 has a goal of raising minimum wage to $15 per hour and add legal protections for many low-wage earners. If this impacts your organization, ensure you understand your obligations as an employer under the law. Communicate and train supervisors and managers on these changes. These are significant changes to the work relationship and will impact many organizations throughout New York City.