Understanding Clopening Shifts in New York City

In the world of employment law, the term “clopening” has gained traction in recent years, sparking discussions about fair labor practices in fast food restaurants. A clopening shift refers to the practice of scheduling an employee to close the business at night and then return to open it the next morning, often leaving little time for rest and recovery. This practice can be physically and mentally demanding and has raised concerns about its impact on employee well-being and safety.

A clopening shift, as the name suggests, combines the closing and opening shifts in a short timeframe, leaving employees with limited time for rest and recovery. For instance, an employee might work from late evening until closing time, and then be expected to return early the next morning to open the restaurant. This practice has been criticized for its potential to lead to fatigue, decreased productivity, and even jeopardized safety due to impaired cognitive function.

In response to concerns about fast food employee welfare, New York City has implemented regulations regarding clopening shifts. According to the New York City Fair Workweek Law, fast food employers cannot require you to work back-to-back closing and opening shifts with less than 11 hours between them, unless you willingly consent. This consent must be obtained in writing, and employers are obligated to pay a $100 premium in such cases. The law  ensures that you’re compensated for the disruption to your personal time and rest. Additionally at the time clopening shift protection was passed, other protections for predictable schedules and wrongful termination also became law in New York City.

Restaurant work can be demanding, but as an employee in New York, you have rights and protections. Understanding and advocating for fair treatment is essential for a balanced and healthy work-life. By staying informed and standing up for your rights, you contribute to creating a better workplace for everyone.  If you feel your rights as a fast food worker are being violated, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney. Call our office for a free consultation today.