City Council mulling measures to improve conditions in retail, fast-food sectors

There is no question that those men and women who work in the retail, fast-food or service industry often find it to be an exceedingly difficult way to earn a living owing to everything from inflexible hours and stagnant wages. Indeed, this struggle is perhaps even more pronounced in places like New York City, where the cost of living is always incredibly high.   

In recognition of this reality and the fact that income inequality continues to be a very real problem across the five boroughs, the New York City Council is now debating six different bills that, if passed, would serve to improve conditions for employees toiling in the city’s massive retail and food service industry.

Of the six measures, four would directly affect workers in the fast food sector, requiring employers to do the following:

  • Supply employees with their schedules at least two weeks in advance, and provide bonus pay in the event late changes are made to either the number of hours worked or the schedule itself
  • Give employees a minimum of 11 hours off between shifts and pay premiums to employees working shifts that run from opening to closing
  • Automatically deduct any voluntary contributions that employees elect to make to any nonprofit dedicated to advancing fast-food worker rights
  • Offer employees the opportunity to take on additional hours prior to hiring contractors or part-time workers  

As for the remaining two bills, one would allow all workers in the retail, fast-food or service industry to request flexible schedules and receive them in emergencies, while the other would prohibit on-call scheduling for retail workers unless the employer offers premium pay.

While these measures have considerable backing, it’s work noting that several employer groups have already voiced their opposition, likely gearing up for a full-blown opposition effort previously seen — and previously unsuccessful — in places like Seattle and San Francisco, which now have similar laws in place.  

Stay tuned for updates …

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have any questions or concerns relating to your employee rights as they relate to wages, breaks or scheduling.

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