United States: San Francisco's First "Retail Workers' Bill Of Rights" Creates More Obligations For Retail Employers

As of July 3, 2015, retail employers in San Francisco are required to comply with new regulations regarding the work hours, scheduling, pay and retention of their employees based on the passage of San Francisco's first-ever Retail Workers' Bill of Rights (RWBR). The RWBR, formally enacted under San Francisco Ordinance Nos. 141024 and 140880, is intended to protect retail employees and contractors and subcontractors of the retail establishment who provide janitorial and/or security services in San Francisco.  The RWBR provides for more-stable work hours, scheduling and treatment. Employers, on the other hand, will likely face challenges as the new law imposes stricter requirements regarding the scheduling and staffing of employees.

What employers fall under the Retail Workers' Bill of Rights?

The RWBR applies to any retail business that (1) employs at least 20 employees in San Francisco, (2) has at least 20 locations worldwide, and (3) maintains two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise (50 percent or more of in-stock merchandise from a single distributor bearing uniform markings), a standardized façade, a standardized décor and color scheme, uniform apparel, standardized signage and a trademark or a service mark ("Formula Retail Establishments," San Francisco Planning Code, Section 703.3).

What are the new obligations for an employer covered under the Retail Workers' Bill of Rights?

The key requirements of the RWBR are included in five categories:

San Francisco Ordinance No. 141024
(1)    Advance Notice of Work Schedules and Changes: Employers must provide all employees at least two weeks' advance notice of work schedules and at least one week's advance notice of any schedule changes.

Otherwise, employers must pay an employee an additional one hour of pay for each shift change made with less than seven days' notice but more than 24 hours' notice. For any shift change made with less than 24 hours' notice, employers must pay an employee an additional two hours of pay for each shift of four hours or less, and an additional four hours of pay for each shift of more than four hours.

The extra pay is calculated based on the employee's regular hourly rate. Note that the requirement to provide advance notice and compensation for schedule changes does not apply to schedule changes that the employee requests (i.e., employee-requested sick leave, time off, shift trades or additional shifts).

(2)    On-Call Schedules: For each shift where an employee is required to be on-call but is not in fact called in to work, employers must now pay the employee (a) an additional two hours of pay for each shift of four hours or less, and (b) an additional four hours of pay for each shift of more than four hours. The extra pay is calculated based on the employee's regular hourly rate.

In addition, there are seven exceptions where an employer would not be required to provide advance notice or compensation for schedule changes:

  • Business operations should not or cannot proceed due to threats to the employees or property.
  • Business operations cannot proceed due to lack of access to public utilities such as electricity, water, gas or sewer systems.
  • Business operations cannot proceed due to an Act of God or cause outside of the employer's control.
  • Another employee is unable to work his or her already-scheduled shift due to illness, vacation or time off, and where the employer did not receive at least seven days' advanced notice of the employee's absence.
  • Another employee fails to report to work on time and/or was fired, sent home or disciplined to stay home for his or her already-scheduled shift.
  • The employer requires the employee to work overtime (i.e., mandatory overtime).
  • The employee trades shifts with another employee or asks the employer for a schedule change.

(3)    Equal Treatment of Part-Time Employees: Employers must treat part-time employees equally with full-time employees regarding (a) starting hourly wage, (b) access to time off provided by the employer, and (c) eligibility for promotions, where the jobs require equal skill, effort and responsibility, and are performed under similar working conditions. However, an employer may provide a different hourly pay for a part-time and a full-time employee if the difference is based on reasons other than an employee's part-time status, such as seniority, merit, production or other performance-based measurement.

San Francisco Ordinance No. 140880
(4)    Extra Hours for Current Part-Time Employees: Employers must first offer any extra hours of work to current part-time workers before hiring new staff or contractors. This must be done in writing. An employer must offer extra work hours if (a) the current worker is qualified to do the work as reasonably determined by the employer and (b) the work is the same or similar to the work he or she has done at the retail business. Employers are only required to offer enough work hours to satisfy a 35-hour work week for the part-time worker.

(5)    Must Retain Employees for 90-Day Period After Business Ownership Changes: If the business is sold or changes ownership and the business remains within San Francisco, the successor employer is required to retain for at least 90 days those current employees who have worked for the outgoing employer for at least six months. This does not apply to supervisory or managerial employees.

In addition, employers are required to post a notice of the RWBR in the workplace and retain employee work schedules and payroll records for a minimum of three years.

What are the consequences if employers fail to comply with the Retail Workers' Bill of Rights?

A civil lawsuit may be brought against an employer for violations of the RWBR. An employer may also be subject to investigation by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) and could be forced to pay penalties and/or additional wages. If an investigation is conducted, the employer would be afforded an opportunity to respond, and could be subject to various consequences if one or more violations are found, such as monetary fines per violation per employee, payment of lost wages, additional monetary penalties, or offering additional work hours or reinstatement to an aggrieved employee.

The newly enacted RWBR expands the obligations of retail establishments in San Francisco and will likely impact day-to-day operations, especially during seasonal shifts.

 Employers would be prudent to:

  • Review current policies, procedures and practices to help ensure consistency with the new law
  • Revise written policies or personnel handbooks, as necessary, to be in accordance with the new law
  • Prepare and post a notice of the RWBR in an easily visible common area at the workplace
  • Inform all employees of the new Retail Workers' Bill of Rights, and appropriately train any supervisors or managers responsible for human resources, staffing, scheduling and/or payroll to ensure that business practices are carried out in accordance with the new law
  • Review, plan and adjust staffing schedules and payroll systems in accordance with the new law.

It is advisable for the retail businesses within San Francisco subject to these new statutes to seek legal advice as soon as possible to achieve compliance with San Francisco's two new regulations, which are now in full effect.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
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