On November 25, 2004, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a first-in-the-nation “Retail Workers Bill of Rights.” This new legislation requires “formula retail” employers (chain stores with at least 20 outlets worldwide) who have 20 or more employees in San Francisco to provide the following job protections:
1. “Good faith” written estimate of work days, shifts, and hours for new employees: Before a retail employee begins work, his/her formula retail employer must provide the employee with a written “good faith” estimate of the number of shifts, days, and hours the employee can expect to work.
2. Advance notice of work schedules and scheduling changes: Formula retail employers must provide employees with at least 2 weeks’ advance notice of their work schedules. If a formula retail employer changes an employee’s schedule more than 24 hours’ notice but less than 7 days’ notice, then the employer must pay the employee an additional 1 hour of pay. If the employer changes the schedule within 24 hours or less notice, then the employee is entitled to between 2 and 4 hours of pay, depending on the employee’s regular shift.
3. Payment for on-call employees: If a formula retail employee is required to be on-call and available for work, and if that employee is not called in to work, then the employee must be paid between 2 and 4 hours of pay, depending on the duration of the on-call shift, subject to various exceptions.
4. Equal treatment for part-time employees: Formula retail employers must treat part-time workers (those working under 35 hours per week) equally to full-time workers in terms of starting hourly wages, access to time off, and eligibility for certain promotions.
5. Protection of current part-time employees: Formula retail employers must offer additional, available work shifts and hours to current part-time employees before hiring new employees or using employee staffing agencies.
6. Employees protected upon sale of the business: If a formula retail business is sold, the purchaser is required to retain for at least 90 days all of the seller’s non-managerial employees who worked for the seller at least 6 months prior to the sale.
Mayor Ed Lee sided with business leaders and refused to sign this new law. In fact, the Mayor returned the legislation unsigned to the Board of Supervisors on December 5, 2014.
However, the Mayor’s signature was unnecessary given that the Board of Supervisors passed the legislation on a 10-0 vote. As a result, the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” will become effective on January 4, 2015 and legally operative 180 days thereafter. Accordingly, San Francisco formula retail employes have until July 3, 2015 to become compliant with this new law.
The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement will enforce this new law. In addition, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office may file civil actions against offending employers.