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NYC puts new labor restrictions on restaurants

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Quick-service restaurants in New York City will be required under a packet of new labor laws to meet more stringent standards for scheduling and hiring hourly employees.

The requirements include increasing current employees’ hours before new hires are made and setting workers’ shifts at least two weeks in advance, with penalties assessed if any changes are made.

Establishments will also be obliged to provide new hires with a “good faith” assessment of how many hours they can expect to work per week in the course of their jobs.

Employers will be prohibited from scheduling workers for a morning shift if they’d worked the closing shift the night before, and staff members can no longer be on call to come in if business is unexpectedly brisk.

One of the more unusual measures requires restaurants to deduct donations to nonprofit organizations from an employee's paycheck upon request and pass along the funds to the benefiting group. The stipulation raises the possibility of funding being channeled to labor advocacy groups that meet the definition of a nonprofit—in effect, setting up a union dues arrangement without the involvement of an actual union.

The measures, all of which were signed into law yesterday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will take effect in 180 days, or around the start of November.

Most of the provisions had been proposed by de Blasio last fall. Collectively known as the Fair Workweek package, the measures are intended to provide restaurant and retail workers with more predictability in their work schedules, income and planning for family needs like childcare. 

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