Manufacturing Industry’s First Fair Workweek Law Arrives July 1, 2020

May 20, 2020 - minute read

Get ready, manufacturers: you’re about to become subject to the same fair workweek laws already impacting other industries. These local ordinances—also called predictive scheduling laws—require employers to provide workers’ schedules up to 14 days in advance. If you operate in Chicago, the time to get ready is now (yes, even as you’re navigating the COVID-19 crisis)!    

A number of major cities—New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia, among others—have already passed fair workweek laws. So has the state of Oregon. But those laws are limited to the retail and hospitality industries. Chicago’s law, the broadest so far, also applies to building services companies, healthcare providers, and yes, manufacturers.

Even if you don’t operate in Chicago, more fair workweek laws are under consideration in cities and states across the U.S. That’s why every manufacturer needs to know what fair workweek laws entail—and make sure their scheduling process is up to the challenge. 

Requirements of Fair Workweek Laws

Although each fair workweek law is unique, all are designed to provide hourly workers with advance notice of their work schedules. The goal is to give them greater control over other aspects of their lives (such as scheduling child care) and greater financial stability, since they can anticipate near-term wages.    

In addition, most predictive scheduling laws mandate that: 

  • Employers provide compensation to workers when schedules are changed short-notice.
  • Employers must observe workers’ “right to rest”—i.e., schedule rest breaks of a certain duration between shifts.
  • Workers can decline extra hours without penalty.
  • Covered workers must be offered additional regular-work hours before temps or new hires are.

How Chicago’s Predictive Scheduling Law Will Impact Manufacturers

Chicago’s fair workweek law, which becomes effective July 1, 2020, applies to manufacturers with 100+ workers, at least 50 of which are located in Chicago.

The law covers hourly workers earning $26 per hour or less and salaried workers earning $50,000 per year or less. The law requires that:

  • Employers must give workers their schedules at least 10 days in advance. (That changes to 14 days on July 1, 2022.)
  • If a shift is changed after the deadline, workers must be compensated with one extra hour of pay.
  • If a shift is canceled or cut short with less than 24 hours’ notice, the worker also must receive at least 50% of pay for the scheduled hours.
  • Workers can decline shifts scheduled less than 10 hours after a prior shift. If they choose to work, they must be paid 1.25% of their regular rate for forgoing their right to rest.
  • When additional shifts are available, employers must offer them to covered workers before temporary or seasonal workers.  

The penalties for violating Chicago’s law is steep. Employers are subject to a fine of $300-$500 per offense—and each covered employee and each day is considered a new offense. Workers can also initiate civil action against their employer.

What about COVID-19? The city is considering a small tweak to the law, which would postpone workers’ right to sue their employers until January 2021. However, this won’t be finalized until later this month—and the rest of the law will move forward regardless.

Are you ready?   

Preparing for Predictive Scheduling 

Unfortunately for manufacturers, scheduling isn’t always easy to begin with. Those with dynamic production needs may rely on on-call workers and quick changes. In addition, some production lines and job shops require workers with specialized skills and certifications, adding complexity to scheduling.

Overstaffing drives up labor costs; understaffing results in lagging productivity and missed deadlines. It’s a delicate balance. As a result, transitioning to predictive scheduling requires planning. Those steps include:

  • Auditing your current scheduling processes and practices, and identifying where changes are required.  
  • Getting managers on board. For some, this may be harder than others, and retraining may be needed. 
  • Making sure your scheduling software will allow you to comply with the law. Among other things, it must:
    • Be able to apply predictive scheduling laws correctly by locality.
    • Make it easy for managers to create and share schedules in advance. 
    • Allow you to categorize workers by skills and certifications.
    • Integrate with your payroll software, correctly calculating any additional compensation arising from the law.
    • Maintain records of workers’ schedules, including changes.

If You Need Help…

If your current scheduling software isn’t up for the job, or you have other HR challenges, you have options. Your HR system should be a great help, not a hindrance, especially as you grapple with the impact of COVID-19.   

EPAY’s HCM solution is designed for the hourly workforce like yours. It eases predictive scheduling requirements. It helps employers manage—and, when needed, rebuild—their workforce. It provides powerful workforce management tools that manufacturers need. And at a time when every penny counts, it can reduce your overall costs to help increase efficiencies. We’d love to show you how! Watch the 2-minute Tour Today.

Filed Under: Compliance Manufacturing Scheduling