magazine said 17% of the workforce now is subject
to flexible and on-call scheduling.
About 10 states so far have introduced bills
relating to employee scheduling. Proposals range
from mandating the number of days or weeks in
advance that schedules must be posted, to the
number of hours off between shifts, to punitive
time-and-a-half mandates for transgressions. An
employer’s use of on-call scheduling might also
be restricted by the terms of a union contract or
collective bargaining agreement.
Job flexibility is a major component of what
makes convenience store jobs attractive for millions
of workers, and the convenience industry needs to
ensure we are not using practices in our workplaces
that make the industry easy targets for attack.
Joint Employer Status
Late last year, the NLRB reversed three decades of
precedent by ruling indirect control over workers is
enough to qualify for joint-employer status. More
recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and
Hour Division issued an interpretation of “joint
employment” that identifies scenarios in which
these jobs worth $15 an hour? The market tells
us no,” says Phillip Wilson, president and general
counsel of the Labor Relations Institute in Tulsa,
Oklahoma. “It’s an economic fact that if business
has to pay over the market rate they will look to
other solutions,” he says.
The University of California Labor Center says
denial of overtime and working off the clock are
major problems. In August 2014, the California
labor commissioner ordered a janitorial company
in Fremont, California, to pay $332,675 in back pay
and penalties to 41 workers. The New York Times
reported that the workers had been required to sign
blank time sheets, which the company then used to
enter inaccurate hours worked.
Penalties can be severe for brands that run afoul
of wage theft. State regulators may be able to place
liens on an employer’s property or require bonds
to enforce judgments. In October, four Papa John
franchisees in New York agreed to pay a half million
dollars to 250 workers who were allegedly shorted
on their wages at nine restaurants in Queens,
Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Workers do have protections under federal law
and can file a grievance with the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB) should they feel they
were not paid deserved overtime pay or shorted in
a paycheck. But the process is admittedly lengthy
at the national level. To speed things up, unions
are pushing statues at the local government
level, giving workers more immediate recourse.
If granted, one potential danger to watch: Local
boards could expand their jurisdiction over time,
essentially acting as de facto mini-NLRBs.
Scheduling software now allows retail companies
to adjust staffing based on store traffic forecasts,
helping them to reduce over- and under-staffing.
But some employees, and their advocates, complain
that just-in-time shifts unfairly disrupt workers’
lives and don’t give them enough hours to support
their families. In an April 2015 report, The Atlantic
Last year, the National Labor Relations
Board reversed three decades of precedent by
ruling indirect control over workers is enough to
qualify for joint-employer status.