Today, New York City became the latest, and largest, city to enact a package of Fair Work Week bills to tackle abusive scheduling practices in two of the most ubiquitous and low-paying industries in the city—fast food and retail. This is another sterling example of local government pushing ahead on progressive change despite a federal government in retrograde.
Council members voted 47-3 to pass five bills that will help workers care for their loved ones while earning income by promoting predictable and humane schedules that allow for lives outside the workplace, by allowing workers who want additional hours to have that opportunity to support their families, and by supporting organizations that advocate for workers’ rights.
A Better Balance was deeply involved in drafting and steering these bills to passage. We are especially proud of Intro. 1387, which prohibits on-call scheduling for retail employees. This ground-breaking law will ensure that no retail workers have to hold their time open for potential shifts, lining up childcare, transportation, and other necessary arrangements to make themselves available, without any guarantee that they will get called into work or even be paid for their time.
Only one bill from the package did not cross the finish line today. The bill, Intro. 1399, would guarantee workers across the city the right to ask for a flexible or alternate work schedule without fear of retaliation and create a limited right to change a work schedule temporarily in the event of certain caregiving, health, and safety emergencies. While we are disappointed that the proposal did not pass today, we will continue to push for its passage and are very hopeful that a compromise can be reached in the near future.