Topics: Blog, News

Double Pay on the Holiday Bill Passes Senate Labor Committee

AB 67 Would Guarantee Double Pay for Employees Working at Large Retailers on Thanksgiving Holiday

This week one of our UFCW sponsored Bills – The Double Pay on the Holiday Act authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which would require large retail employers to pay at least 2 times the regular rate of pay to any employee who sacrifices time with their families and friends in order to work on Thanksgiving, was approved by the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee today on a 3-1 vote. The bill will next be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 67 would require retail and grocery stores with 500 or more employees to pay their workers twice their regular wage for hours worked on Thanksgiving if those stores choose to open.

“This bill is specifically tailored to help lower-paid hourly workers who often are least able to decline a shift on Thanksgiving, because family holidays shouldn’t depend on your economic situation,” Gonzalez said.

In recent years, “Black Friday” shopping deals have increasingly spilled into the Thanksgiving holiday, forcing workers to miss out on celebrating the holiday and spending time with their families in order to keep their jobs. In some cases, this work has become mandatory, forcing workers to give up their holiday or risk losing their jobs. The increasing commercialization of the holiday season has created significant public backlash, including petitions, media criticism and worker protests. AB 67 would ensure that those workers who sacrifice their Thanksgiving holiday receive double pay for their work.

While there are laws to compensate for the overtime, there is nothing protecting workers on holiday shifts. Current California law allows employers to mandate working scheduled overtime and holidays, which leaves workers without much recourse if a manager decides to take their Thanksgiving.

2014 research found that more than three-fifths of the country’s large employers have Thanksgiving shifts, while just one-in-five small businesses will do the same. Recent data also show that opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day didn’t actually boost overall sales. Instead, sales on Thanksgiving Day just came out of Black Friday sales, suggesting that taking away employees’ holiday didn’t actually help the overall bottom line.