New York City to Regulate Fast Food, Retail Employee Scheduling

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 23, 2017

New York City recently passed a package of "Fair Workweek" laws that will limit how fast food and retail employers' may schedule employee work shifts.

"Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks should be a right, not a privilege," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "With this legislation, we are continuing to build a fairer and more equitable city for all New Yorkers."

Federal law already requires that employees must be paid when they are required to remain on their employer's premises or at least be so close that they cannot use the time effectively for their own purposes. Similarly, some state laws (including one in New York) also require that employees be paid for reporting time or show-up time - when they show up to work but no work is available, or if they are sent home before the end of their scheduled shift.

Effective November 26, 2017, New York City's new laws will expand on these federal and state laws by requiring fast food employers to:

  • Provide advance notice of work schedules to employees and to pay a schedule change premium if hours are changed after required notices;
  • Offer work shifts to current employees before hiring additional employees; and
  • Refrain from "clopenings," in which employees work consecutive work closing and opening shifts.

Meanwhile, in the retail sector, another bill will prohibit on-call scheduling and require employers to provide advance notice of work schedules to retail employees.

New York City follows in the footsteps of San Francisco and Seattle, which have passed similar scheduling ordinances.