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Proposed Retail Laws Limited to Chains Because Rules Are Hard

Formula retail stores like Target would be required to comply with a new retail workers'  rights proposal. Image via <a href="">Target</a>.
Formula retail stores like Target would be required to comply with a new retail workers' rights proposal. Image via Target.

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San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu introduced legislation this week that would give retail workers at chain stores more predictable schedules. According to the Chronicle, Chiu's proposal would require formula retail managers to post schedules two weeks in advance, pay workers extra for last-minute schedule changes, compensate workers for unused on-call times, and give part-time and full-time workers the same access to both time off and the certain hours.

If reading that felt like déjà vu, it's probably because Supervisor Eric Mar introduced his somewhat similar Retail Workers Bill of Rights over the summer. Mar's proposal would require formula retail stores to pay employees for at least four hours of work when they are on call, if the store cancels a scheduled shift with less than 24 hours' notice, or when a retail employee is asked to work for less than four hours.

Both proposals sound like the types measure that any retail worker would want, but only formula retail establishments —chain stores that meet certain requirements— would be required to comply. SFist reports that Samantha Roxas, a legislative aide for Chiu, had a perfectly valid explanation for the distinction. "When we convened the task force, it was supposed to be for all employers, but we had conversations with small businesses and found people with one or two or three employees who said that it would be difficult to follow these rules," Roxas told the site.

And there you have it. Every shop girl may want to know what her schedule looks like two weeks in advance, but SF Supervisors don't want to impose that burden on small business owners. Granted, it would be difficult for shops with fewer employees, but establishing greater protections for formula retail staffers could have the unintended consequence of driving workers who need flexibility out of small business and into the open arms of chain stores.
· Supervisor David Chiu seeks predictable schedules for retail workers [SFGate]
· Chiu Pushes For More Predictable Hours For Retail Workers [SFist]
· Will San Francisco Adopt a Retail Workers Bill of Rights? [Racked]