L.A. City Council passes law to give retail workers with erratic hours more stability
It’s not often that an election results in a new era, but Los Angeles city council members passed a landmark ordinance Wednesday, giving retail workers with erratic hours their own special status in the job market.
The new law gives an estimated 3,500 workers who qualify for a minimum of three days off a month to receive a six-month extension on their employer’s standard one-time separation policy.
It’s meant to protect workers from being fired at a moment’s notice due to a temporary staffing shortage, and it also grants them a six-month buffer between a company’s “re-tipping” of workers – changing their shifts or leaving work to attend school or care for a child – and when their employer can legally fire them.
The law went through years in the making, but in recent years some retail shops in the city’s high-traffic areas haven’t had enough permanent full-time employees to cover shifts. These temporary workers then go on to be regular employees at a new company for whom their hours are a lot more predictable.
Those workers, like the ones in our story, are often forced to scramble to find new jobs once their previous employer has permanently cut their hours.
The new law was championed by retail workers and activists who saw the temporary and full-time status of retail workers as a double-whammy.
It protects workers and helps ensure they can stay in the workforce, but as long as they can get three days off a month, they won’t have to pay for their own job-hunting trips to New York or even to California to find a new, permanent job.
“If you’re in a retail store and you’re getting 15 hours a week and you’re told you’re going to be here a month, you’re going to quit?” said Monica Hsu, president of the Los Angeles Retail Food Worker Alliance.
“We hope this creates a way for workers to be able to look for jobs that are flexible as well as be able to leave work to pursue school or to go out and