Last week, the city's new Fair Workweek Laws went into effect. For fast food workers, it means that employers will now have to give them ample advance notice of their shifts, which will make it easier for them to balance the other aspects of their live.
While often derided, fast food and retail jobs are often a person's first foray into the workforce. However, many of these employees are also students who have to balance a class schedule or single parents, who might have to work a second job to make ends meet or arrange for child care.
Forcing them to make last-minute decisions choosing work at a minimum wage or slightly better job and other aspects of their lives is an unfair burden.
Fast food employees will also now have to consent to working “clopening” shifts, or two shifts that end less than 11 hours apart over two days. And if they consent, they will also have to be compensated $100, a good incentive for folks who are able to handle the workload.
Retail employees will also be freed from on-call shifts, which basically puts employees at the whim of the employer, who can send them home without pay even if they report to work.
Nearly one in nine New Yorkers works in the fast food and retail fields, and they are among the lowest wage earners. These new laws will help them get ahead and not hold them hostage to a part-time job to ensure their livelihood.
And the new regulations do little to affect the bottom line of employers, it only makes the workplace fairer.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has already publicly stated it is not looking to fine businesses who are making good-faith efforts to comply with the new regulations and slip up here and there, only crack down on the businesses who wantonly disregard them.
Fast food and retail jobs are major employers in New York City, and these laws will make them a more equitable place to work.