Every year, the holiday shopping season begins earlier and earlier. While this may mean extra deals for shoppers, it means longer hours and more time away from families for retail workers, who are often asked or even compelled to work outside their regular hours for no additional pay.
One of the most taxing shopping days is Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving. In recent years, retailers have opened their doors earlier and earlier on Friday morning, and last year many remained open (and offered doorbuster deals) on the Thanksgiving holiday itself. A new bill aims to protect retail employees, making it mandatory to pay workers extra for working on Thanksgiving Day.
Which California Workers Are Affected by the New Bill?
Unfortunately, the provisions of the recently-passed Assembly Bill 67 will not apply to all workers in the state. When it was first introduced by San Diego assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill banned stores from being open at all on Thanksgiving Day. A reworking of the bill allowed stores to remain open on the holiday, as long as all companies with 25 or more employees paid workers double their regular pay for all holiday hours worked. The bill, which was rewritten to apply to only large companies, was finally passed earlier this year with a 41-30 vote.
The California bill would have the following effects on employees working Thanksgiving shifts:
- How much can workers be paid? Workers must be compensated at two times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked on Thanksgiving Day.
- Which employers are affected? Any grocery or retail stores with at least 500 employees are required to obey the double-pay on Thanksgiving rule. This applies to big chain retailers, such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, and other national chains. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are not obliged to pay double time.
- Can employees still be fired for refusing to work on Thanksgiving Day? The bill does not protect employees from being forced to work on Thanksgiving Day; it merely guarantees them a higher rate of pay for working.
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