Employers would be required to give workers more advance notice of their shift schedules under a bill filed Wednesday by a group of N.C. House Democrats.
House Bill 366, titled “Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights,” would require employers to give workers their schedule at least two weeks in advance, provide new hires an estimate of how many shifts they’ll work per month, and pay employees for canceled shifts or unused on-call shifts.
“Every day, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians go to work at a job where the hours can be erratic and unpredictable,” Rep. Cecil Brockman, a bill co-sponsor and High Point Democrat, said in a news release. “This bill would give these hard-working citizens more stability in their lives.”
So far, no Republicans have co-sponsored the proposal, and it’s unlikely to move forward without support from the majority party. The N.C. Retail Merchants Association is voicing concerns about the bill.
“Scheduling proposals such as those contained in HB 366 are detrimental to the retail industry, especially in light of the amount of sales being lost to remote retailers who would not have to comply ... placing North Carolina’s retailers further at a competitive disadvantage,” association president Andy Ellen said in an email Wednesday. “Retailers need flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in a store – such as a slow day where there is little customer foot traffic.”
But Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat and bill co-sponsor, said the current law’s flexibility for employers results in unpredictable paychecks.
“Lost hours can be detrimental for working families, especially those working more than one job to scrape by,” Harrison said. “One missed shift can mean a late payment on rent or bills. The measures in this bill will make sure that no North Carolinian dreads opening their next paycheck.”
Ellen, however, argues that new regulations would “likely result in less employee hours per week and have a negative impact on the very employees HB 366 seeks to help.”
“HB 366 would also have an impact on customer service – resulting in not enough employees being scheduled, longer wait times and less personal attention,” he said.
In addition to the shift scheduling requirements in the bill, employers would also be required to give their part-time workers the same hourly wages and access to paid and unpaid time off as full-time employees who do the same jobs.
The state’s labor commissioner would be responsible for enforcing the regulations and could order employers to issue back pay to affected workers.