As retail stores throughout the city prepared for Black Friday sales in late November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a one-of-a-kind ordinance designed to protect employees from erratic work schedules.  If signed by Mayor Ed Lee?which is almost certain?the ordinance, known as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, will likely become operative in Summer 2015.  The new law will have a significant impact on San Francisco's chain retail employers, defined as retail employers with 20 or more employees within San Francisco and 11 or more locations nationwide.

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights requires San Francisco's chain retailers to post employees' schedules at least two weeks in advance.  It also requires employers to provide advance notice of any changes to employees' schedules. 

Employers who make scheduling changes on fewer than seven days' notice will be subject to "predictability pay" to employees affected by the change.  In addition to the employees' regular pay for working the shift, employers will be required to pay:

  • one hour of pay for each shift change made with more than 24 hours' notice and fewer than seven days' notice; or
  • between two and four hours pay, depending on the duration of the shift, for each shift change made with less than 24 hours' notice. 

And, employees who are "on-call" but who are not actually called to work will also be entitled to between two and four hours of pay, depending on the length of the on-call shift. 

There are a limited number of exceptions to "predictability pay."  For example, an employer is not subject to predictability pay if it is short-staffed due to the unexpected illness of another employee, or if the employers' operations are unable to begin or continue due to certain emergencies or Acts of God.

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights also requires that employers provide new employees with a written, good-faith estimate of their expected minimum number of shifts per month, including the days and hours of those shifts.

Julia Levy also contributed to this article.