Predictive Scheduling & Fair Workweek: A Biz Owner’s Guide

If you’re in charge of a team of hourly shift employees, you’ll soon be impacted (if not already) by a wave of legislation that instills restrictions and rules in how companies manage and schedule their staff.


More About Fair Work Week

If you’re in charge of a team of hourly shift employees, you’ll soon be impacted (if not already) by a wave of legislation that instills restrictions and rules in how companies manage and schedule their staff. 

The laws I’m referring to are called Predictive Scheduling legislation (also called Fair Workweek) and a number of cities and states have already passed their own versions of the ever-growing piece of labor compliance. 

Are you in an area that’s begun talks of implementing Predictive Scheduling laws? 

Then it’s crucial you understand each aspect of the law to ensure your workplace is up to code so you aren’t hit with any lawsuits or bad PR. 

To help you out, continue reading as we detail all the important information you need to know to stay in compliance with Predictive Scheduling laws. And even if you’re in an area that hasn’t been impacted by these laws, it’s still crucial you pay attention so you know what to expect when your city or state decides to implement it themselves. 


What is Predictive Scheduling?

Predictive scheduling is a type of labor compliance legislation that aims to improve the lives of hourly shift workers by giving them added transparency into their schedules that’s conducive to a healthier work/life balance. Predictive scheduling also stops employers from assigning employees “clopening shifts” as well as other business practices that may be deemed unfair to staff. 

While Predictive scheduling laws differ depending on the state/ city, take a look at the list below which highlights commonalities among Predictive Scheduling legislation: 

  • No more clopening shifts: A clopening shift is defined as when an employee closes a business at night then returns to open the business the following morning. As you could imagine, the government is cracking down on this practice because it leads to employees not receiving the rest they need.

    Predictive scheduling laws have outlined that employees have the right to a specific number of hours to rest between shifts over two days. It also states that employers must pay a higher rate to employees who agree to work without a proper rest period.

  • Advanced notice of schedules: Certain laws state that employers must send employee schedules out at least 14 days in advance. This is done to cut down on occurrences where employees are burdened by receiving their schedules at the last minute. 

    As you could imagine, sending employee schedules out 2 weeks in advance is going to be difficult if your business is still using dated scheduling practices like Excel spreadsheets or pen and paper. 

    This is why you should look to employee scheduling software built to take the load off your shoulders so you can focus on other areas of your business. And the best part is you’ll be able to make schedules in just minutes! Making it easy than ever to send a schedule out weeks in advance.

  • Reporting time pay: Picture this, you wake up early and walk a mile to your bus stop. You’re on the bus for 15 minutes and finally make it to your stop, a train station. You buy a ticket and are on the train for another 20 minutes to make it to the center of town. 

    You get off and walk half a mile to your workplace. You walk through the doors only to have your manager tell you that your shift was canceled and that you need to go home. Meaning that you spent all that time and money getting there for nothing. 

    Reporting time pay works to cut down on occurrences like this. The ruling states that If an employee shows up for work only to find that their shift was canceled, the employee is then entitled to receive payment for part of that canceled shift. 

  • On-call pay: Employers must pay employees a premium rate whenever employees make themselves available for work or have to wait for the shift to be confirmed. This has been the law in California for quite some time, along with several other states. In fact, you should consult with your attorney before even using the words "on call". For example, if you require that your staff answer their phones 24 hours a day, you may be required to pay them for that entire time.

  • Part-time and Full-time equality: Part-time workers are entitled to be treated equally when it comes to receiving pay, raises, promotions, and any other benefits that are also received by full-time employees. 

  • Split-shift pay: If employees are scheduled to work shifts with a considerable time gap between them, they must receive extra pay. 

  • Schedule change requests: Whenever employees ask for a schedule change, voluntary time off, or voluntary trade shifts, employers don’t have to pay scheduling premiums. 

  • Right to request: Employees have the right to request part-time work, flexible working hours, predictable working hours, and flexible working arrangements. 


Cities and States with Predictive Scheduling / Fair Workweek Laws

Even with the commonalities above, it’s important to look up your own labor compliance laws to ensure you’re up to code. 

And if predictive scheduling laws do exist where you live, don’t fret! 

Our shift scheduling software will have you up to date with compliance quickly and easily. Click here to see it in action for yourself. 

Read below to double-check whether your location has any Predictive Scheduling laws. 

San Francisco, California: In July 2015, San Francisco enacted the Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (FRERO) and became the first city to make employers abide by Predictive Scheduling laws.  

Emeryville, California: Emeryville had their Predictive Scheduling laws come into law in July 2018 and it applies to fast food and retail employers with at least 56 employees globally or at least 20 staff members within Emeryville. Only employees that work at least two hours per calendar week in the city of Emeryville will be affected by the ordinance.  

San Jose, California: San Jose’s ordinance came into effect on March 2017 and dictates that employers must offer additional hours to existing employees before turning to contractors. 

Oregon: Oregon’s Fair Workweek law (July 2018) stops employers’ from scheduling employees to clopening shifts with less than 10 hours of rest in between. An employee can only be scheduled for these shifts if they volunteer or give written consent. 

Seattle: Implemented in July 2017, Seattle’s Secure Scheduling Ordinance states that employers must give a good faith estimate of the hours an employee can expect to work as well as whether the employee will work on-call shifts.

Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly love passed its Predictive Scheduling ordinance in December of 2018 (it’ll come into effect on January 1, 2020) and the law gives employees the right of first refusal to work additional hours.

Philadelphia’s law also states that employers must provide employees with at least nine hours of rest between shifts to halt the occurrence of clopening shifts.  

New York City: New York’s Fair Workweek Law (November 2017) is actually a combination of five bills that guarantees fast food and retail workers 72-hour advanced notice of their employee schedules and stops employers from adding or canceling last-minute shifts. 

Chicago: Chicago’s city council approved their Predictive Scheduling ordinance in July 2019 and requires employers to send employee schedules out at least two weeks’ in advance as well as compensate employees for any last-minute shift changes. 

District of Columbia: The nation’s capital has also been subjected to labor compliance. The Building Service Employees Minimum Work Week Act (2016) details that employers must offer a minimum number of hours to building service employees. 


Why are Predictive Scheduling & Fair Workweek Laws Growing in Popularity?

For some time now, some employers’ have been guilty of overworking employees and subjecting them to unfair work practices. This has led to a number of cases where employees have been exploited and overworked without any justification.

You also must take into account that many hourly employees often have sporadic schedules that vary from week to week. Making it difficult to raise children, attend school, work other jobs, etc. It also makes it impossible for employees to estimate how much they’ll be making in the future. 

Another common occurrence is employees coming into work just to be told that their shifts were cut. They had to go through the ordeal of making it to work on time, only to be told that it was all for nothing. To add to that, they now have the added stress of not expecting to be paid for work they were scheduled for.

And with it becoming more common for Americans to work hourly jobs on the side as supplemental income, these practices are affecting more people than ever. 

Situations like this give better insight as to why laws like Predictive Scheduling and Fair Workweek have been on the rise. 


Employer Penalties for Breaking Predictive Scheduling Laws

These laws are set in stone and employers who break them will deal with a number of consequences depending on their area. 

For example, if it’s found that an employer in New York is displaying patterns of breaking labor compliance rules, the NYC law department may issue a fine of up to $15,000. For more information, take a look at a number of penalties employers may face when breaking Predictive Scheduling laws depending on their location: 

  • San Francisco, California: Employers may have to pay “appropriate relief” to their employees which includes a $50 fine for each employees’ rights that were violated as well as payment to employees for their lost wages. Employers may also be subjected to a $500 fine for each qualified employee for specific violations of the laws. 

  • Oregon: For each violation of Predictive Scheduling laws, employers will be subjected to penalties amounting to $500 to $2000 for each violation that’s found. 

  • Seattle, Washington: Employers that break Seattle’s Secure Scheduling Ordinance will have to pay a minimum fee of $500. It’s also important to know that fines are calculated on a ‘per employee’ and ‘per violation’ basis. 

  • Emeryville, California: Employers must make remedies available to address the violation, which includes reinstatement, back pay, attorneys’ fees, witness fees, and costs. Additionally, an employer who violates this law may be liable for civil penalties in the amount of $500 per violation.


Record-keeping Aspects of Predictive Scheduling

One commonly overlooked aspect of Predictive Scheduling laws are the rules regarding record-keeping. Under this new line of labor compliance legislation, employers are expected to keep detailed records that serve as proof of their compliance. Continue reading for a quick overview of record-keeping laws per state/city: 

  • New York: Employers in New York are expected to keep records that demonstrate: the number of hours worked per week, good faith estimates of shifts, the location of the shifts as well as the date and time, the written consent of workers that have worked clopening shifts, a history of schedules, and premium payments. 
  • Oregon, San Francisco, Emeryville, Seattle: Similar to New York’s stance on record keeping, employers in each of these areas are required to hold records spanning back at least three years proving their compliance with their local legislation. 

For this purpose, relevant records include written consent from employees regarding working shifts, payroll information, and employee schedules. 

With all the moving parts involved in running a successful retail business or restaurant, you don’t need the extra headache of keeping accurate records at the top of your mind too. Thankfully you live in the age of technology and software is here to store all of that information on hand for you. Freeing you to not have to deal with piles of papers taking up your entire office. 

If this sounds like a plan, click here to start your trial with Roosted.


Notifying Employees of their Schedules

Predictive scheduling and Fair Workweek laws also dictate how employers are to go about notifying employees of their schedules. While employers have a few options, sending schedules through a phone notification is the most efficient route to take. 

For example, employers in Oregon are required to notify employees of their schedules in person, by email, phone, text, or other similar electronic or written format. The employer is also required to post a written notice of the published schedule in a public place where it can be easily viewed by employees. 

Another example can be seen in New York where all fast-food restaurants are required to show: 

  • Number of hours worked per week 
  • Good faith estimates 
  • Date, time, and location of shifts
  • Employees consent to work clopening shifts 
  • Premium pay rates
  • Past employee schedules

Keep in mind that failing to retain these records will leave you defenseless in court. So you should take this seriously and implement electronic documentation in your workplace ASAP. 


Closing Thoughts

While Predictive Scheduling laws means more work for you, they do bring a number of benefits for employees. And if they’re happier, you can expect higher levels of productivity and a lower turnover rate. To stay on the safe side, adopt employee scheduling software pronto so you can have some peace of mind when it comes to compliance.

Roosted can help with staying on top of (and in compliance with) local laws, and more importantly, to treat your coworkers fairly. 
Predictive Scheduling & Fair Workweek: A Biz Owner's Guide