The City of Los Angeles enacted the Fair Work Week Ordinance (FWWO) which requires retail businesses with least three hundred (300) employees worldwide, including franchises, to provide certain transparency and notice standards with respect to employees’ work schedules. Employees that qualify for minimum wage and perform at least two hours of work in a workweek in Los Angeles are covered by the ordinance. The ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2023.
Under the terms of the FWWO, employers will be required to provide new employees with a written, good-faith estimate of their work schedule upon hiring and within 10 days of a current employee’s request. The good-faith estimate must include the work hours, days, shifts, on-call status, and locations each employee is expected to work in a given work period. If the worker’s hours deviate significantly from the good-faith estimate, the employer would be considered in violation of the ordinance unless the employer can demonstrate that it had a legitimate business reason that was unknown at the time the good-faith estimate was given to the worker.
In addition to the good-faith estimate, employers will also be required to provide existing employees with advance notice of their work schedules at least 14 days in advance of each work period. An employee can decline any proposed schedule changes made less than 14 days before the start of the work period. If a worker accepts a schedule change made less than 14 calendar days before the work period, the acceptance must be in writing.
The ordinance also prohibits employers from hiring new employees, including contractors and temporary employees, unless they have first offered additional work hours and shifts to current employees. Employers must post a notice of available or open shifts at least 72 hours before hiring a new employee. Existing employees have 48 hours to accept the offer. If none volunteer, or if allowing current employees to take on the additional work would require the payment of overtime or other premium pay to current employees, the employer may then hire new employees to meet increased demand.
Employers must issue premium pay whenever they change an employee’s schedule. When the schedule changes result in no loss of time or additional work time exceeding 15 minutes, the employer owes the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Changes that result in a loss of work time require the employer to compensate the employee at half of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the lost work time. For example, if an employee was scheduled to work eight hours and the employer reduces this to four hours, the employee is owed premium pay equal to two hours of work.
Potential violations of the FWWO are referred to the Office of Wage Standards and can result in fines if the employer does not cure the violation within the allotted 15-day window. Full enforcement of the FWWO by the Office of Wage Standards does not begin until September of this year. However, employees may be able to pursue civil claims based on an employer’s alleged FWWO violation prior to that date.