An ordinance that would require retail employers in Los Angeles to provide work schedules to employees at least 14 days in advance and at least 10 hours rest in between shifts was advanced by the City Council’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance, proposed by Councilman Curren Price in 2019, has been through various discussions and edits for the past three years. It seeks to soften the unpredictability of retail employee schedules.

According to a UCLA study cited in the ordinance, 80% of the 140,000 Los Angeles residents working in the retail sector have “unpredictable, last-minute and fluctuating work weeks over which they have no control,” and over three-quarters receive less than a week’s notice of their schedules.

The ordinance, which would take effect next April, would only apply to retail businesses with 300 or more employees globally.

The ordinance would also require employers to provide employees with a “good faith estimate” of their work schedule upon hiring. If employees work a shift that begins less than 10 hours from the previous shift, employers would have to provide one-and-a-half times pay.

Under the proposal, employees would not be required to find coverage for scheduled hours if they are unable to work for a reason covered by other laws. Employers would also be required to offer additional hours of work to current employees before hiring new workers.

Employers could be fined up to $500 per penalty for violating the ordinance.

Price, who chairs the committee, said revisions to the latest version of the draft ordinance came following input from both the business and labor sectors and called it “fair and balanced.”

Rob Nothoff, policy director for the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, called the ordinance “thoroughly analyzed” and vetted over the past three years.

“Simply put, we have a crisis of good jobs here in Los Angeles, with the central front line retail workers voicing their need for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” Nothoff told the committee. “This sort of policy helps to answer that bell.”

Lack of workplace protections have unnecessarily slowed the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic and created barriers to those hoping to enter the workforce, according to Katie Duberg, policy organizing director for the California Work & Family Coalition.

“Parents and those caring for a seriously ill family member must know their schedule in advance in order to both work and arrange childcare, elder care or otherwise meet caregiving obligations,” Duberg said to the committee.

But Steve McCarthy, vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs of the California Retailers Association, asked the committee for a delay in implementing the ordinance until September 2023 to give stores more time to revise their policies, introduce new software and train management. McCarthy also asked for the inclusion of an administrative process before lawsuits are filed under the ordinance.

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