Los Angeles County Enacts Fair Workweek Ordinance
Los Angeles County Enacts Fair Workweek Ordinance

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently passed the Los Angeles County Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which generally requires that certain retail employers in the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles give workers their schedules two weeks in advance, compensate them for last-minute schedule changes and provide at least ten hours between shifts.  The Ordinance will go into effect on July 1, 2025, and largely duplicates the Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance which became effective in the City of Los Angeles on April 1, 2023. The Ordinance defines “Retail Employers” as “any business, including non-profit organizations, whose revenues are generated primarily from the sale to end users of tangible products that are primarily for personal, household, or family purposes, including, but not limited to, appliances, clothing, electronics, groceries, and household items” and employs, directly or indirectly, 300 or more employees globally, inclusive of persons hired through contracts or temporary employment agencies, retail subsidiaries, and franchisees who operate larger (15000 square feet or more) retail establishments.

The impact of the Ordinance begins prior to the start of work of any new employee.  Before hiring a new employee, and within ten days of any employee request, the retail employer must provide a written good faith estimate of that employee’s work schedule, which must include the Notice of Retail Employee's Workweek Rights (discussed below).  The prediction must be fact-based, and can be based on forecasts, prior hours worked by a similarly situated retail employee, or other relevant information. The estimate must be provided in English, Spanish and any other language spoken by at least 10% of the workforce (defined by the Ordinance as the “Primary Languages”).  If an employee’s actual work hours substantially deviate (defined as a 20% difference in hours, or a difference in the days of the week worked or in the work locations, in six out of twelve workweeks) from the good faith estimate, the employer must have a documented, legitimate business reason that was unknown at the time the good faith estimate was provided in order to justify the deviation.

The Ordinance requires that retail employers to provide retail employees who work at least two hours a week within an unincorporated area of the County of Los Angeles with written notice of their work schedules at least fourteen calendar days before the start of the work period in the Primary Languages. Notice may be provided by posting the work schedule in a physical, accessible location, or by any means calculated to provide actual notice to each employee. If an employer makes changes to the work schedule, written notice must be provided to the employee, and the employee has a right to decline any changes, including changes to hours or work location. If an employee accepts the changes, the consent must be documented and must be obtained in advance of the change; ongoing or general consent will not suffice. Employees who substantiate a concern for the safety of themselves or their family may request, verbally or in writing, that the employee’s work schedule not be shared with those who do not have a need to know, and the retail employer must immediately implement that request and maintain it until it is withdrawn. 

The Ordinance also restricts retailers’ ability to hire new workers, contractors, temporary employees or staffing agencies. Before a retail employer can hire, it must offer the available work to current employees if a current employee is qualified, and the additional work hours would not require payment of overtime. The offer must be in writing and in the Primary Languages, and must be provided at least 72 hours before hiring any new employees, contractors, temporary employees or staffing agencies to perform the job. The retail employee must have 48 hours to accept the offer. At the end of the 48 hours the offer is not accepted, or if the employee provides written confirmation that they are not interested in the additional work, the employer may then proceed with the hiring. If more retail employees accept the offer than there are hours available, then the retail employer must use a fair and equitable distribution method to allocate the hours. 

Under the Ordinance’s predictability pay requirement, the employer must also pay one additional hour of time for each change to a scheduled date, time, or location, or that results in additional work time that exceeds fifteen minutes. An employee must be compensated at one-half the regular rate of pay for a reduction in that employee’s work schedule that resulted from: the changing the start or end time of a shift resulting in a loss of more than fifteen minutes; the changing the date of a shift; cancelling a shift; or the scheduling the employee for an on-call shift for which the employee is not called. Predictability pay is not required when: the employee requests the change; the employee accepts a change due to the absence of another scheduled worker (in which case, the employer must communicate to the employee that acceptance of the change is voluntary and the employee has a right to decline, and must also document the specific nature of the request and the employee’s consent); the employee accepts additional hours pursuant as a result of an off prior to hiring new workers; the employee’s hours are reduced due to the employee’s violation of policy or law; the employer’s operations are compromised due to law; or when the extra hours worked require payment of overtime. 

Retail employers under the Ordinance are required to provide workers with a minimum of ten hours of rest in between shifts. An employee may agree to work shifts without this minimum rest, if they provide written consent and the employer pays the employee a premium rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each hour of the second shift not separated by at least ten hours.

Retail employees have the right to request certain hours, times or work locations, and the employer must provide a reason in writing for any denial. The Ordinance prohibits employers from requiring that employees find coverage for an employee who is unable to work for reasons protected by law. The Ordinance also prohibits any retaliation against employees who assert rights established by the law.

On or before July 1st of each year, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) is required to make available a Notice of Retail Employee's Workweek Rights, templates for the good faith estimate of work schedule, the work schedule, and forms to notify retail employees of schedule changes. Retail employers must post the Notice of Retail Employee's Workweek Rights in the Primary Languages at any workplace where any retail employee works.  For employees who do not have regular access to the workplace or job site, the retail employer must provide a copy of the notice electronically or by mail annually.

Retail employers must keep three years of records for current and former employees including work schedules, good faith estimates of hours, written correspondence about work schedule changes, written offers and responses for additional work hours, and payroll records. The failure by the employer to maintain these records creates a rebuttable presumption that the employer has violated the Ordinance.

The DCBA has the right to inspect the employer’s records, and to investigate and enforce the Ordinance. In addition to restitution, the DCBA can require payment of penalties of up to $500 for the violation of each section of the Ordinance, and up to $1,000 for retaliation, payable to the employee, along with possible administrative fines payable to the county. Subsequent fines within a three-year period may be increased by 50%. The maximum penalty that may be imposed for violation of the Ordinance each year is $20,000 per retail employee, and $30,000 per employee for retaliation. Suspension, revocation or denial of an employer’s county license is also possible.  Employees are also entitled to file lawsuits seeking to enforce the Ordinance, and may seek to collect back wages, penalties, reinstatement of employment, injunctive relief, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2023. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it. If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department.


Recent Posts




Jump to PageX

ECJ uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website, to better understand how our website is used and to help provide security. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. For more information see our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.