United States: San Francisco Ordinance Imposes New Burdens On 'Formula' Retail Employers

In addition to federal and state laws, San Francisco currently has ten labor and employment laws that apply only to employees working within the City.1  On December 5, 2014,2 the eleventh San Francisco-specific employment law was enacted, expanding the rights of some retail workers employed by specified retail employers.

The "Retail Workers Bill of Rights," which consists of two ordinances (Nos. 140880 and 141024),3 will regulate the employment of some part-time retail workers in San Francisco.   

Which San Francisco employers are affected?

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights covers employers that qualify as "Formula Retail Establishments" (FRE) under the San Francisco Planning Code, have at least 20 retail sales establishments located worldwide, and employ 20 or more people within San Francisco.  Section 703.3 of the San Francisco Planning Code defines "formula retail use" as a retail sales establishment that maintains two or more of the following features:

  1. a standardized array of merchandise (i.e., 50 percent or more of in-stock merchandise comes from a single distributor bearing uniform markings);
  2. a standardized façade;
  3. a standardized décor and color scheme;
  4. a uniform apparel;
  5. standardized signage; and
  6. a trademark or service mark. 

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights is estimated to affect approximately 1,250 retail chain stores in San Francisco.  Business groups, including San Francisco's Chamber of Commerce, have publicly opposed the new legislation, claiming that the legislation does not provide sufficient flexibility to employers that experience seasonal shifts and does not accommodate small, independent franchisees. 

Which San Francisco employees are affected?

The Retail Workers Bill of Rights covers individuals who qualify as "employees" under the City's Minimum Wage Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 12R), as well as any individual who, in a particular week, is scheduled for an on-call shift of at least two hours for any employer within the geographic boundaries of the City, regardless of whether the person is required to report to work for such shift.

What are the new requirements for affected employers?

The following are some of the more notable requirements under Ordinance No. 140880:

  • Employers must first offer, in writing, any additional hours of work to current part-time employees before hiring new employees or using subcontractors (including janitorial or security services contractors), temporary services, or a staffing agency to do work, but only if the part-time employees are qualified to do the additional work and the additional work is the same or similar to work the employees have performed for the employer already.  Employers are not required to provide employees with additional hours of work that would cause the employee to work more than 35 hours in the workweek.
  • If the employer's business changes ownership, the new owners must retain the existing employees (excluding the supervisory, managerial, or confidential employees) for at least 90 days from sale or other transfer of the business.

The following are some of the more notable requirements under Ordinance No. 141024:

  • Employers must provide notice to employees of any change to the employee's posted or transmitted work schedule, and if the employer changes or cancels an employee's previously-scheduled shift, the employer must provide the affected employee with a specified amount of "predictability pay"4 of up to four hours of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay.
  • Prior to the start of employment, employers must provide new employees with a "good faith estimate," in writing, of the employee's expected minimum number of scheduled shifts per month, as well as the days and hours of those shifts.5
  • Employers must provide their employees with at least two weeks' notice of their work schedules by either: (a) posting the work schedule; or (b) transmitting the work schedule by electronic means.
  • Part-time employees must receive the same starting hourly wage provided to starting full-time employees who hold jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions.
  • Employers must provide part-time employees with the same access to employer-provided paid and unpaid time off that the employer provides to full-time employees for the same job classification.  However, the part-time employee's eligibility for employer-provided paid or unpaid time off may be pro-rated based on the number of hours the part-time employee works.
  • Part-time employees must receive treatment equal to that of full-time employees concerning eligibility for promotions for the same job classification.  Employers may condition eligibility for promotion on the employee's availability for full-time employment and on reasons other than the part-time status of the employee, such as nature and amount of work experience.

What agency will enforce the new ordinances?

The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) (http://sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=391) will enforce the Retail Workers Bill of Rights.

What are the penalties for noncompliance?

If the OLSE determines that an employer violated this ordinance, the agency may order the employer to provide any "appropriate relief," including payment to employees for lost wages and a penalty of $50 to each employee or person whose rights under this ordinance were violated for each day that the violation occurred or continued.

Employers may receive an administrative fine of up to $500 per eligible employee employed by the employer for specific violations of the ordinance (e.g., failure to make an offer of additional available hours to part-time employees in writing).6

When do the new ordinances take effect?

Each resolution provides that its provisions will become operative 180 days after the ordinances' effective date.  The ordinances' effective date is 30 days after their date of passage.7  Thus, the estimated operative date is approximately June 24, 2015.

Mayor Edwin Lee neither signed nor vetoed the ordinances, instead opting for a third course permitted by the San Francisco City Charter: he allowed them to become law without his signature.8

How should affected employers prepare to implement these ordinances?

  • Modify policies and procedures inconsistent with the new law and consider including the new law's requirements in policies and procedures.
  • Train human resources and managerial staff on the law's new requirements.
  • Begin to draft the necessary notices of work schedules to be used when the ordinances are implemented, as well as other notices required under the ordinances.
  • Consider adding a description of the affected employees' rights in existing employee handbooks.


1 Minimum Wage Ordinance, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, Health Care Security Ordinance, Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, Prevailing Wage, Minimum Compensation Ordinance, Health Care Accountability Ordinance, Sweatfree Contracting Ordinance, Displaced Worker Protection Act, and the Fair Chance Ordinance.

2 The City's Board of Supervisors passed the law on November 25 and Mayor Edwin Lee allowed it to become law by failing to sign within 10 days of the Board's action.

3 The 37 pages of the text of the two ordinances, along with previous versions and legislative reports, are accessible at http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=9681.

4 Section 3300G.4(c)(2) of Ordinance No. 141024 sets forth the "predictability pay" as follows: (A) one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate if the employee receives less than seven days' notice but at least 24 hours' notice; (B) two hours of pay at the employee's regular hourly rate for each shift of four hours or less if the employee receives less than 24 hours' notice; and (C) four hours of pay at the employee's regular hourly rate for each shift of more than four hours if the employee receives less than 24 hours' notice.

5 Section 3300G.4(a)(1) of Ordinance No. 141024 notes that this estimate "shall not constitute a contractual offer and the Employer shall not be bound by the estimate."

6 Ordinance No. 140880.

7 Date of passage was November 25, 2014.  See San Francisco City Charter, Art. II, sec. 2.105 (ordinances and resolutions).

8 San Francisco City Charter, Art. III, sec. 3.103 (veto power).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Christopher E. Cobey
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Littler Mendelson
Ford & Harrison LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Littler Mendelson
Ford & Harrison LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions