On November 29, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council approved a Fair Work Week Ordinance, which goes into effect on April 1, 2023. Retail businesses in the city of Los Angeles with at least 300 employees should closely review this new ordinance, which seeks to address employees’ scheduling issues by requiring covered employers to provide work schedules to employees at least 14 days in advance and at least 10 hours rest between shifts, among other requirements.
The Fair Work Week Ordinance applies to businesses identified in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) within the retail trade categories and subcategories 44 through 45 with at least 300 employees globally. Employees must work at least two hours within the city of Los Angeles to be covered by the ordinance.
The Fair Work Week Ordinance creates new responsibilities for covered employers, including:
- Advanced notice of work schedules and schedule changes: Employers must providework schedules to employees at least 14 days in advance and give written notice if any changes are made to it. The employee has a right to decline any changes. However, if an employee chooses to voluntarily consent to the change, they must do so in writing.
- Right to rest: Employers must provide at least 10 hours of rest between shifts unless they obtain written consent from an employee for a shorter period. For each shift that an employee didn’t receive the 10-hour break, the employer must pay a premium of time and one-half.
- “Predictability pay” for changes to work schedules: “Predictability pay” is paid to employees when changes are made to their work schedule. It is one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each change to a schedule that doesn’t result in the loss of time to the employee or does result in additional work time that exceeds 15 minutes. Employers also must pay employees one-half of their regular rate of pay for the time they don’t work if the employer reduces their scheduled work time by at least 15 minutes. This pay is in addition to the payment of regular wages for the shift. However, predictability pay is not required under certain circumstances, such as if the employee initiated the schedule change.
- Offering work to existing employees: Employers must provide the opportunity to current employees for additional work before hiring a new employee, contractor or temporary employee.
- Good faith estimate for new hires: Before hiring an employee, a covered employer must provide a written, good faith estimate of the new employee’s work schedule within 10 days of the employee’s request. If the actual work hours substantially differ from the estimate, the employer will have to document a legitimate business reason that was unknown at the time of the estimate.
- Right to request changes to work schedule: Covered employees have the right to request a preference for certain work hours, times or locations, and if the employer denies the request, it must do so in writing with a reason for the denial.
- Coverage for missing work shift: Employers cannot require an employee to find coverage for shifts or partial shifts that the employee is unable to work for reasons protected by law.
Notice, Posting and Recordkeeping Requirements
Employers must post a notice informing employees of their rights under this ordinance. Electronic communication does constitute written notice. The notice must be posted annually in English, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Armenian, Russian, Farsi and any other language spoken by at least 5 percent of the employees at the workplace. Covered employers must retain records for three years.
Employees who assert their rights under the Fair Work Week Ordinance are protected from retaliation. The city of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Contract Administration of the Department of Public Works enforces this ordinance and must have access to all business sites subject to this ordinance during business hours for inspection and investigation of potential Fair Work Week Ordinance violations.
In addition to reviewing their current scheduling practices, covered employers should keep an eye out for any additional regulations and guidance that Los Angeles city may publish to assist with the Fair Work Week ordinance implementation.