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San Francisco Passes Retail Workers Bill of Rights

San Francisco-based retail workers could have more stable work schedules in 2015. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Retail Workers Bill of Rights during its first vote on the measure aimed to achieve fair scheduling and full-time work for the city’s 40,000 retail workers. The comprehensive set of policies was introduced as two separate pieces of legislation. One mandates equal treatment for part-time workers and gives employees more predictable schedule, the other encourages full-time work and job security.

Under the new ordinance, employers would be required to give workers 14 days’ advance notice of their schedules—a measure to reduce the frequency of last-minute schedule changes and on-call shifts. The mandate would also require companies to pay on-call workers for four hours of work. In addition, workers who are sent home early would be guaranteed pay for at least four hours. The bill also orders retailers to offer part-time employees the same starting hourly pay rate, access to time off and promotion opportunities made available to full-time employees.

The ordinance is scheduled for a second vote on Nov. 25. It will then be in the hands of San Francisco mayor Ed Lee. The law would affect chain businesses with more than 20 employees.

Gordon Mar, executive director of Jobs With Justice San Francisco, said, “This is an incredible victory for people in our city who are scraping by paycheck to paycheck and hour to hour. San Francisco is on its way to ensuring more men and women in our community have schedules and hours that allow them pay their bills, plan their lives and take care of their loved ones. Some of the policies passed today will be among the first of their kind in the country.”

He added, “All families need strong wages, stable hours and sane schedules to build a good life. But too many of our neighbors who serve our food, stock our shelves and sweep our floors have jobs that grant too few hours on too short notice and require them to be at the beck and call of their employers.”