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New law would guarantee double pay on Thanksgiving, Christmas

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SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego assemblywoman announced Wednesday that she plans to introduce legislation to require companies to pay double-time to employees who have to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said retailers have increasingly encroached on the Thanksgiving holiday with their “Black Friday'' promotions, forcing workers to give up family time in order to keep their jobs.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas have traditionally been celebrated every year as times that all of us can connect with our families and reflect on the blessings in our lives, but each year it seems like we lose more and more of these family holidays to the demands of work,'' Gonzalez said at a news conference outside a Wal-Mart store in Murphy Canyon.

“Many workers already enjoy premium pay for making this sacrifice and many do because it is a matter of public health and safety,'' she said.   Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said the expansion of work demands on employees in the retail and restaurant sectors “is not being accompanied automatically with a holiday pay premium, and so it's imperative for employees who are losing out on their Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to boost their boss's profits are paid fairly for that sacrifice.''

A representative for Walmart stores, which are scheduled to open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gonzalez said the increasing commercialization of the holiday season has created significant public backlash, including petitions, media criticism and worker protests. Critical posts from members of the public were found on the Facebook pages of several retailers that plan to open on Thanksgiving.

Numerous retail chains other than Walmart will be open Thursday, including Kmart, which will be open all day beginning at 6 a.m., Big Lots! at 7 a.m. and Radio Shack at 8 a.m.

Chains opening in the evening include Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, JC Penney, Kohl's, Michael's, Old Navy, Sears, Sports Authority, Target and Toys 'R' Us.

Among the retailers that will remain closed for the holiday are Costco, Home Depot, Nordstrom, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Barnes & Noble.