Monday, November 27, 2017

Abigail Lootens / Christine Gianakis
Department of Consumer Affairs
(212) 436-0042

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City's Fair Workweek Laws Are Now in Effect and Give Workers in Fast Food and Retail the Right to Predictable Schedules and Paychecks

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS) to Focus on Education for Both Workers and Employers with Launch of Resources and a Series of Education Days and Trainings

PHOTO OP: On Tuesday, November 28 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. (rain or shine), DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas will be available for interviews before our Brooklyn Business Education Day, which starts at 395 Flatbush Avenue at the intersection of Flatbush and Fulton.

NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that NYC’s Fair Workweek and Fast Food Deductions laws are in effect as of yesterday, November 26, 2017. These new laws end unfair and inconsistent scheduling practices in the fast food and retail industry and ensure workers are able to make direct contributions to nonprofit organizations of their choice through their employer. These laws apply to all covered employees–regardless of immigration status. DCA will be focusing on education first to ensure that workers and employers are aware of the new requirements. The first in a series of business education days will take place tomorrow, November 28, 2017, in Brooklyn and DCA will conduct business walks in all five boroughs before the end of the year. OLPS will also conduct additional trainings about the laws. The required notices (Predictable Schedule: Fast Food, Predictable Schedule: Retail, Deductions: Fast Food), overviews of the laws (Fair Workweek: Fast Food, Fair Workweek: Retail, Deductions), FAQs, and complaint forms (Fair Workweek: Fast Food, Fair Workweek: Retail, Deductions) are now available at Materials will soon be available in additional languages. The Rules to implement these Laws were sent to the City Record for publication today and will be effective once they are published, which is expected to be tomorrow.

“Fast food and retail workers endure unpredictable schedules and incomes that make it hard for them to create budgets, schedule child care, or pursue education or a second job,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Our Office of Labor Policy and Standards will be going door-to-door to ensure that New Yorkers are aware of their rights and their obligations under these new laws. While our focus in these initial months will be on outreach and education, we will investigate any complaints we receive. We will look very differently on those employers that are trying to comply with these new requirements versus those who actively seek to interfere with their employee’s ability to exercise these important new rights. I encourage all workers and employers to visit our website or to call 311 to request information about the Fair Workweek Law or Deductions Law.”

Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food employees have the right to:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 NYC’s Fast Food Deductions Law fast food employees have the right to:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

“The laws we pass in the City Council need strong and capable agencies to exercise the enforcement they require to be successful,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. “I’m grateful that the Department of Consumer Affairs was able to so thoughtfully and thoroughly provide exceptional protection and care for the retail and fast food workers of our City. I’d like to thank DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas and her entire team for all their hard work on behalf of New York’s workers.”

“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 Council Member Brad Lander, 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, DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas, and OLPS Director Liz Vladeck for their leadership on this critical issue.”

“1 in 9 New Yorkers is a retail worker, they are among the lowest wage earners in our city, they struggle to survive on often part-time work, barely making ends meet,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “On-call scheduling is a pervasive and exploitive employment practice where workers do not find out until just before a scheduled shift if they will be required to work or not. Today, New York City is implementing some of the strongest scheduling protections for retail workers in the country – an outright ban on on-call scheduling. Starting today, workers will now be able to gain more control over their own lives and their ability to earn a living; they can plan childcare, plan their classes, get a needed second job, and help their elderly parents. The implementation of the on-call ban will fundamentally change the lives of retail workers in New York City – and it sets the bar for the rest of the country.”

“New York City’s Fair Workweek Law provides some of the most robust protections for hourly workers in the nation,” said Rachel Deutsch, CPD Senior Staff Attorney for Worker Justice. “The Center for Popular Democracy is eager to collaborate with DCA and worker-led organizations to ensure that the law is enforced.”

“For working parents, students and those working more than one job a fair workweek will make all the difference,” said Hector Figueroa, 32BJ SEIU President. “Part-time workers in the industry who want more hours will also be able to get them as they become available in their store. The practice of clopenings, where workers don’t have enough time to go home and rest between closing and opening their stores, should now be a thing of the past. We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for championing these new laws that will improve the lives of 60,000 fast-food workers and their families in the five boroughs.”

“Just in time for the busiest season in the service sector, and when workers are struggling more than ever to juggle their job and family responsibilities, New York City’s important new Fair Work Week protections took effect yesterday,” said Tsedeye Gebrelassie, Senior Staff Attorney, NELP. “These Laws provide crucial help in ensuring that workers receive fair notice of their work schedules; this predictability will allow them to plan their lives and budgets.”

“With the implementation of our new Fair Workweek Laws, New York City will be leading the way forward in progressive policies to combat unpredictable scheduling practices,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of Community Service Society. “It will mean more stable lives and paychecks for thousands of hard working New Yorkers.”

“A Better Balance is thrilled that this package of laws protecting fast food and retail workers from abusive scheduling practices is becoming law in New York City,” said Sherry Leiwant, Co-President, A Better Balance. “This comprehensive package of laws is one of the most far reaching in the nation and will go a long way to guarantee that some of our most vulnerable workers will have some certainty with respect to their schedules and hours.”

“We are thrilled to see New York City stepping up as a leader in the fight for a fair work week. When you don’t know when you’ll have to work or for how long, it can be impossible to arrange child care, schedule doctor’s visits, go to school, or hold down another job to make ends meet,” said Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “Women especially feel this strain because of their outsize family caregiving responsibilities and the fact that they are the majority of low-wage workers. And the stress of unfair work schedules harms entire families, including the children for whom parents must scramble to find last-minute care. The Fair Workweek Law will provide greater predictability and stability in the industries that need it most."

“Evidence shows that irregular, variable, and/or short-notice work scheduling is pervasive in the food services and production industry and that workers on irregular/on-call schedules have greater work–family conflict and work stress,” said Marni von Wilpert, Associate Labor Counsel, Economic Policy Institute. “New York City’s Fair Workweek Legislation is a great model of how to improve working people’s lives.”

Through DCA, the de Blasio Administration continues to lead the nation on advocacy around the importance of municipal workplace rights and protections. OLPS is the largest municipal labor standards office in the country with a robust staff of attorneys, investigators, outreach and education specialists, as well as research and policy analysts. OLPS enforces, implements, and works on the development of a new generation of minimum labor standards for a stronger city. It focuses on ensuring all workers can realize these rights, regardless of immigration status. In September 2017, OLPS released a report “The State of Workers’ Rights in New York City,” which summarizes the testimony of 110 workers given during a public hearing convened by DCA in April 2017, in collaboration with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). Through their testimony, workers articulated the many challenges and concerns facing immigrant, paid care, and contingent workers. OLPS is implementing and/or enforcing a number of municipal workplace laws, including the Paid Sick Leave Law, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, Commuter Benefits Law, the City Living and Prevailing Wage Laws, the Grocery Workers Retention Act, and is developing interdisciplinary initiatives as it builds its new Paid Care Division.

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCA licenses more than 81,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCA protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCA empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCA also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCA and its work, call 311 or visit DCA at or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.