Three industry groups are challenging New York City’s year-old predictive scheduling law, saying state labor law governs restaurant employee scheduling and compensation and asking that the city’s Fair Work Week Law be voided.
The International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Law Center and the New York State Restaurant Association filed the lawsuit Monday in New York State Supreme Court.
New York City's Fair Work Week Act was passed in May 2017 and went into effect on Nov. 26, 2017, requiring quick-service restaurants to set employee work schedules two weeks in advance and allowing fines to be imposed when shifts were changed with less notice.
“Over the past year, this so-called ‘Fair Work Week Law’ has resulted in large premium payments, additional administrative costs and increased difficulty providing fast and flexible customer service for the 1,796 affected New York City restaurants,” said Matt Haller, the IFA’s senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, in a statement.
Similar predictive scheduling measures have been approved in other cities such as San Francisco and Seattle as well as this past summer in the state of Oregon.
The challenge of the New York City law said franchise quick-service restaurants have been required to pay “hundreds of thousands of dollars in modified scheduling ‘premiums’” when schedules are changed within the two-week-advance window. Penalties for schedule changes of less than 14 days’ notice range from $10 to $75 each, depending on the amount of notice.
“This policy makes it prohibitively expensive for businesses to quickly adapt their staffing to fit changes in market demand, unexpected employee absences or myriad other staffing issues,” the IFA said in a press release. “Franchises, which are independently owned and operated, are the only types of QSR businesses affected by the law.”
The franchise group also said the policy creates “an uneven playing field” locally owned businesses operating under a national brand name.
“While well-intentioned, this law places unaffordable costs on New York restaurants, which jeopardizes the livelihoods of the very employees it’s designed to protect,” Haller said. “IFA hopes that the court will follow legal precedent and common sense to strike down this misguided policy.”
The lawsuit claimed New York state rules govern employee scheduling and compensation requirements.
“New York State maintains exclusive authority to enact laws that limit the right of employers to change their employees’ work schedules,” the IFA said. “As a result, under well-established judicial rulings, the state labor law preempts the city from enacting or enforcing its own more restrictive and punitive scheduling law.”
The lawsuit asks the court to void the local Fair Work Week Act. No hearings have yet been scheduled in the case.
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