CLEVELAND— Forget time-and-a-half or even double-time on the holiday because an Ohio lawmaker wants employers to pay a bigger price for making people work on Thanksgiving.
State Representative Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) is drafting a proposal that, if passed, would require stores to pay employees three times their hourly rate or allow them to take the day off without penalty on the holiday.
“For the people who have to work on those days, they should be compensated to a greater degree than they are regularly,” said Rep. Foley. “There’s just something deeply disturbing about having Black Friday, chaotic, blowout sales on Thanksgiving Day, the day that we’re all supposed to be hanging out with our family and giving thanks for all our blessings.”
The proposal covers a specific period of time, including all of Thanksgiving Day and the first 12 hours of Black Friday.
Retail supports 42 million jobs in America, according to the National Retail Federation.
But this is the first year that many retailers will be open early or around-the-clock on the holiday. That was the motivation for Foley, who said the meaning of the holiday is lost.
“I like it. They deserve it,” said Loveette Jackson from Cleveland. “They have to deal with the angry customers and the crowd and you know, once the store hour closes, they have to put all that stuff back that the people can’t pay for and stuff, so I like the triple!”
“Retailers will add hundreds of thousands of valuable jobs to the economy this holiday season, including extra staff for their distribution centers, store managers, e-commerce and mobile positions and helpful staff associates,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement to WHNT’s sister station, FOX 8 News. “Teenagers, college students and adults love working in retail during the holidays, especially with the perks of employee discounts and being the first to see what’s added to store shelves. Additionally, as we’ve heard from several companies, these holiday positions offer thousands of people the opportunity to turn seasonal employment into a long-term dynamic and thriving career opportunity.”
Some still question if those opportunities can take a break for just one day.
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said a Willoughby resident. “There’s plenty of time to shop. We don’t need to do it on that day.”
To become law, the bill would first have to make it through the republican-controlled House of Representatives in Columbus, though, it couldn’t pass in time to make a difference this year.