The retail sector makes up a huge percentage of the workforce in the U.S., comprising sales staff, food service workers and other customer service representatives. It has also been an arena hosting several debates in recent years pertaining to workers' rights issues such as minimum wage, overtime classification and other similar topics.
One new piece of legislation has made a huge splash in San Francisco, and it may be setting the tone for employer-employee relationships across the rest of the country soon. Known colloquially as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, the legislation introduces a variety of fairly radical changes that affect how retail managers run their businesses.
Retail Workers Bill of Rights: An overview
People who work a retail job are already afforded various protections from legislation such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, these provide broad-spectrum protection, and don't address retail-centric issues such as full-time eligibility and scheduling.
The RWBR introduces specific resolutions to address many of these issues. According to the official site, companies will be required to change how they handle scheduling and even hiring practices. For example, the Bill states that if an employer has any additional hours in the schedule, they must be offered to part-time employees interested in full-time work, rather than the employer simply hiring more part-time staff. Another point requires managers to give two weeks notice when posting schedules. Employees are entitled to a payout of one hour's worth of pay if the schedule is changed a week in advance, and two to four hours of pay for 24-hour-or-less changes.
How do the retailers feel?
The Bill represents a significant change for employers, who now have a new set of restrictions they must follow. But according to Human Resource Executive Online, the changes are actually just as beneficial to companies as to staff members. Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business associate professor Ed Soule told the source that companies that abuse the types of practices the Bill of Rights seeks to eradicate experience higher absenteeism and turnover, and lower levels of customer service.
Retail managers have a responsibility to maximize revenue and service. However, that task is impossible if workers' needs aren't being met. While it's yet to be seen if the rest of the country will follow San Francisco's lead, savvy business owners are encouraged to work with PEO companies to seek advice on how to future-proof their retail policies.