San Francisco has enacted an ordinance designed to require large retail chains to provide more predictability to their workers.  The ordinance, entitled the “Predictable Scheduling and Fair Treatment for Formula Retail Employees Ordinance,” will become operative on July 5, 2015.  You can access a copy of the ordinance here: San Francisco Ordinance-Amended-111814.

The ordinance will apply to retail sales establishments that have 20 or more employees in San Francisco, have 20 or more establishments worldwide, and maintain two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise, a standardized façade, a standardized décor and color scheme, uniform apparel, standardized signage, or a trademark or servicemark.

The ordinance will require covered employers to provide their employees with biweekly schedules at least 14 days in advance.  Furthermore, employers will be required to provide advance notice of certain scheduling changes on the pain of providing the employees pay, including the following:

  • One hour of pay if the employer fails to give at least seven days’ notice of a schedule change but at least 24 hours’ notice;
  • Two hours of pay for less than 24 hours’ notification of a change of each shift of four hours or less; and
  • Four hours of pay for less than 24 hours’ notification of a change of each shift of more than four hours.

The ordinance also requires employers to pay employees for time spent on-call, including two hours of pay for each on-call shift of four hours or less and four hours of pay for each on-call shift of more than four hours.  Certain exceptions apply to these requirements, such as schedule changes caused by emergencies or employees who cannot work because of illness.

Significantly, although an earlier draft authorized aggrieved employees to sue in court, the ordinance provides solely for administrative and civil enforcement by the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement.  Remedies include injunctive relief, payments of back wages, penalties, and fees and costs.

Business groups have indicated an intent to seek modifications to the ordinance before its operative date, including provisions allowing employers more flexibility in staffing and less onerous compensation provisions.