NYC retail workers would get more control over schedules in new Council bill

A bill that would give retail and fast food workers more control over their work schedules is set to be introduced to the City Council Tuesday.

Under the measure, small businesses would be fined if they forced their employees to work “on call” for shifts that aren’t confirmed until the last minute.

Supporters of the bill, like City Councilman Brad Lander, said such provisions hamper working class New Yorkers’ schedules.

“New Yorkers trying to pay the rent and feed their families should not be subject the whims of shift cancellations and last-minute changes to their hours,” he said in a statement.

Under the bill, employers would be prohibited from requiring a worker to come into work with fewer than 72 hours’ notice without written permission from the employee. It would also forbid employers from canceling scheduled work hours within 72 hours of the start of that job.

The bill would apply to “retail businesses with five employees or more, or an average of five workers for the year,” and chain stores will be treated as one employer.

Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Union said the protections were long overdue.

“This groundbreaking new City Council bill will ban the cruel and unfair practice of on-call scheduling in the retail industry, and protect countless retail workers,” he said in a statement.

The on-call bill is part of a package of legislation aimed at improving conditions for retail workers. Another measure would require fast food chains to give staff two weeks notice of any change in their hours and pay them extra if it is changed on short notice.

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