Dem Politician Aims to Penalize CA Companies for Staying Open on Thanksgiving

Dem Politician Aims to Penalize CA Companies for Staying Open on Thanksgiving

Because more and more Californians work on traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, employers will be forking out double-time pay if one California assemblywoman gets her way.

Former labor leader Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego plans on sponsoring a bill that will mandate a pay increase for employees in lieu of forcing stores to completely close the doors on the holidays.

“I’ve watched how the retailers and restaurateurs continue to expand their hours and open up on these holidays that are traditionally family holidays,” Gonzalez said. “What people are being called in to do now is a real slap in the face of family values, frankly.”

Gonzalez understands that services like the police department and the fire department need to be open on the holidays, however, most retailers are staying open just to improve the bottom line. “This is not life and death,” Gonzalez said. “This is consumerism.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. closes its stores on Christmas but they remain open on Thanksgiving, explained Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan. However, she points out that employees who work on Thanksgiving receive double pay already.

“It equals out to be an extra day’s pay,” Buchanan said.

It’s not clear if Gonzalez’s bill will pass, but she has had success in the past passing a bill that increased wages for workers. The Sacramento Bee reported in August that Gonzalez spearheaded a successful campaign to pass legislation guaranteeing California workers up to three days a year of paid sick leave. 

The bill was helped by a last moment push by Governor Jerry Brown who ordinarily doesn’t weigh in publically on pending legislation.