The Fair Workweek Ordinance Goes into Effect: Balancing Lives, Not Just Shifts

The nation’s strongest ordinance to protect low-wage and part-time workers goes into effect today. My office first introduced this legislation in 2018 and it passed the Council in November 2022 amidst a backdrop of historic labor  action. It is the culmination of four years of careful consideration with labor and impacted businesses at the Labor Commission and Council policy committees.

Scheduling insecurity harms workers as well as their families, and employers and customers alike. An academic study of a related Emeryville ordinance showed that the law decreased work days for parents while increasing work hours per day and improved parent well-being. The law is designed to protect and compensate low-wage and part-time workers at some of Berkeley’s largest employers, including the City itself, building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, retail and warehouse employers with 10 or more employees in Berkeley and 56 or more workers globally.

Among its various provisions, the Fair Work Week Ordinance reduces the mental and physical strain of last-minute schedule changes or extreme back-to-back shifts. The law (1) requires 1-4 hours of ‘predictability pay’ for last minute schedule changes made less than two weeks or 24 hours before a given shift, (2) requires covered employers to offer part-time workers additional hours before hiring new part-time staff, and (3) allows workers to refuse harmful ‘clopening’ shifts that begin less than 11 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift.

My office helped fund additional capacity within the City’s division of Workforce Standards and Enforcement and other departments to provide targeted outreach to businesses. This outreach has begun and will stretch through early 2024, City of Berkeley staff will be supporting employers and employees to understand.

You can learn more about the law here, and upcoming events will be listed at the bottom of this page.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out my office, or email/call: (510) 981-5400, TDD: (510) 981-6903