A proposed California state bill would require big retailers with at least 500 employees to pay their workers double on Thanksgiving.
The bill, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), was originally introduced a year ago and would have required double time pay for employees working specific “family holidays,” with a few exceptions.
The legislation passed two committees, but failed 34- 29 on the assembly floor in June.
Gonzalez now wants to change the bill to include only Thanksgiving and require paying retail employees double pay if they have to work the holiday. The bill would include large employers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Old Navy, Toys R Us, JC Penny, and more.
The idea behind the update is that, if stores want to open up and start their Black Friday sales early on, Gonzalez said those retailers should share their holiday profits with those employees.
“It is clear we are targeting an industry that can choose to do more, that if mandated it will not drive them out of California. It will not drive them into the red,” Gonzalez said.
Opponents argue the bill would increase costs and put brick and mortar stores at a competitive disadvantage to online retailers. They also say this kind of bill forces employers to recognize certain days as a holiday by paying workers double pay.
Mickey Kasparian, with United Dood and Commercial Workers, said union members already get double pay on holidays, but this proposed bill would require double-pay for all big retailer employees on Thanksgiving.
“In California, of course workers don't have the right to not show up to work,” Kasparian said. “They don't have the right to any sort of holiday pay. They can of course lose their job if they refuse to work on a major holiday.”
California law as it is allows employers to mandate scheduled overtime.