Yanelia Ramirez, a nail salon worker. Pedro Gamboa, an airport worker. Jacqui Orie, a nanny. Ricarda, a laundry worker. Each of them share something in common: they work long, hard hours with no right to paid time off to attend important life events, spend time with their families, or simply relax. On September 9th, we were proud to join these workers in calling for New York City to pass a bill giving New Yorkers the right to earn 10 days of paid personal time at a rally on the steps of City Hall
Last year, A Better Balance was proud to work with SEIU 32BJ, RWDSU and workers throughout New York City to pass Fair Workweek legislation that guarantees fast food workers and retail workers more predictable work schedules. This legislation became effective on November 26, 2017, and has led to real change, allowing these workers the ability to have some control over their hours and their lives.
The legislation has become a model for the rest of the country in addressing the persistent problems low wage workers face in not having advance notice of their schedules. The legislative package also addresses the problem of “clopening” – ensuring that workers have a minimum number of hours of rest between closing and opening shifts and requires that new hours of work be offered to existing staff before hiring additional part-time staff in the fast food industry. Finally, for all workers in New York, there is now a right to request a change in schedule without fear of retaliation and a right to two days off to deal with specific family emergencies. For more information, see our fact sheet, New York City Fair Work Week Legislation for Fast Food & Retail Workers.
These rights enable workers to care for themselves and their families. Unless workers have advance knowledge of when they will be called to work, they cannot make child care plans or control their time. The law also helps deal with the problem of under scheduling by requiring access to hours for current employees when an employer adds time to the schedule.
An innovative part of this package enables workers to support a worker center to ensure that their rights under these laws are vindicated. As a result, the Fast Food Justice Center was established and has been working to empower workers to ensure that workers know their rights and can take advantage of them.
A Better Balance congratulates all those who worked tirelessly to get this legislation passed and to ensure its effective enforcement in its first year. We will continue to work with organizations in New York to ensure that it improves the lives or low wage workers and work around the country to see these rights duplicated for all low wage workers.