Fair Workweeks for Retail Workers in Los Angeles
Published: March 22, 2023
The city of Los Angeles recently passed the Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance, which largely stemmed from the findings as to unpredictability of work schedules in the retail industry. Specifically, it was determined that approximately “77 percent of retail workers receive less than one week notice of their schedules or changes to their schedules” and that such unpredictability created extensive socioeconomic burdens on workers of large retail businesses. The Ordinance can be found here.
The Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance goes into effect April 1, 2023 and applies to retail businesses with 300 or more employees worldwide (including franchises). Employees that perform at least two hours of work in a workweek in the City of Los Angeles will be covered by the ordinance.
Good Faith Estimate
Employers must provide written good faith estimates of employee work schedules before hire (for new employees) and within 10 days of an employee’s request (for current employees). If the estimate does not align (or substantially deviates) from the actual work hours performed, the employer must document a legitimate business reason for the deviation.
Employee Preference Requests
Additionally, the ordinance gives employees the right to request a preference for certain hours, times, or locations of work. Upon receiving such request, the employer may accept or decline the request. However, if declining the request, the employer must provide written notice to the employee of the reasons for the denial.
Current employees must be provided their work schedule in writing at least 14 calendar days before the start of the work period. This can be done by sending the work schedule directly to the employee by electronic means, or another manner reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to each employee, or by posting the work schedule in a conspicuous and accessible location where employee notices are customarily posted and visible to employees.
Any employer-initiated schedule changes must be provided to employees in writing. From there, upon receipt of such changes, employees have a right to decline changes in hours, shifts, or work location changes not included in the initial work scheduled provided. If an employee voluntarily accepts a schedule change, the acceptance must be in writing.
Offer Work to Current Employees Before Hiring New Employees
The ordinance states that at least 72 hours before hiring a new employee or bringing in a temporary employee, an employee must offer the available work to their current employees if they have at least one employee who is qualified to do the work and the additional work hours would not result in the payment of a premium rate under California Labor Code section 510.
The offer of additional work hours to current employees shall be made in writing or by posting the offer in a conspicuous location in the workplace where notices to employees are customarily posted. Employees have 48 hours to accept the offer for additional hours in writing.
When an employee agrees to a change in their work schedule (which does not include acceptance of additional work hours as laid out above), the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each change to a scheduled date, time or location that (1) does not result in a loss of time to the employee or (2) does result in additional work time that exceeds 15 minutes.
If the change in the work schedule is a reduction of work time of at least 15 minutes, the employer shall pay the employee one-half of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the time the employee does not work.
Employers do not have to pay predictability pay when the work schedule change is initiated by the employee, the employee accepts a schedule change initiated by an employer due to an absence of another scheduled employee (provided the employer makes clear the acceptance is voluntary and the employee may decline), the employee’s hours are reduced to the employee’s violation of any existing law or of the employer’s policies and procedures, the employer’s operations are compromised pursuant to law or force majeure, or extra hours worked required the payment of an overtime premium.
Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to find coverage for a shift if they cannot work due to protected reasons.
Further, employers must give employees at least 10 hours of rest between shifts unless the employee gives written consent to be scheduled for a shift that begins less than 10 hours after the conclusion of the previous shift. When an employee consents to work a shift that starts less than 10 hours after their previous shift, they are entitled to time and a half for each shift separated by less than 10 hours.
Records of work schedules, written offers to work additional hours, responses, written correspondence regarding work schedule changes, and good faith estimates of hours must be kept for current and former employees for a period of three years.
Employers must post the notice published each year by the DAA informing employees of their rights under the ordinance. The notice shall be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Armenian, Russian and Farsi, and any other language spoken by at least 5 percent of the Employees at the workplace or job site
In light of these comprehensive new requirements, it is vital that covered employers train managers to understand all the requirements of the ordinance as soon as possible and consult their employment counsel to ensure their policies and practices are in accordance with the new ordinance.