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New York’s Fast Food Workers May Soon Have A Little More Schedule Stability

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Restaurants will have to set schedules two weeks in advance

Mayor Bill de Blasio after a rally outside a Brooklyn McDonald's in 2015
Mayor Bill de Blasio after a rally outside a Brooklyn McDonald's in 2015
Getty/Pacific Press

The lives of New York’s 65,000 fast food employees may soon be a little less hectic. Crain’s reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to introduce a law that will force fast food restaurants to schedule shifts in advance. Labor advocates have complained for years that unpredictable scheduling makes it hard for fast food workers to take other jobs that they need for extra income or find care for children and sick family members. The mayor’s new law requires employers to post schedules two weeks in advance and pay employees when they have to make a last minute change.

The announcement comes right after the campaign to raise the chain restaurant minimum wage to $15-per-hour. It’s part of an ongoing effort to try improving income inequality in the city. Besides advance scheduling, the legislation also bans restaurants from asking employees to work two shifts that are within ten hours of each other — an addition that would end the practice where employees close the restaurant one night and open it again the next day. It's currently common for restaurants to schedule people last minute based on software that helps them track demand, according to Crain's.

Though the legislation would only apply to fast food restaurants if passed, changes in the chains tend to have a trickle down effect to mom-and-pops and full-service restaurants, too. The demand for restaurant labor is high, and restaurants seeking quality employees have said they must stay competitive on wages and benefits to attract them.