How far in advance do you give your employees their work schedules? If it’s less than 14 days notice, you could be in violation of predictive scheduling laws. If you operate in certain jurisdictions and industries, that is!
These laws, also known as fair workweek laws, are becoming more widespread. A pair of new laws take effect in 2020, and if you manage an hourly workforce, it’s important to know what they are.
Although each predictive scheduling law is unique, they all share a common objective: to provide low-wage hourly workers with advance notice of their schedules, thereby giving workers more stability and control over other aspects of their lives, like arranging childcare and working a second job.
As the name implies, predictive scheduling laws require that employers give workers their upcoming hours a certain number of days in advance—ranging from seven to 14—and compensate them for last-minute schedule changes.
While this offers clear benefits to workers, it presents challenges to employers in fast-moving environments. And even if fair workweek legislation doesn’t impact you today, it may down the road. Do you know how you would rise to meet this challenge…or if it makes sense to get out in front of it?
The Rundown: Predictive Scheduling Laws 2020
Predictive scheduling laws started surfacing several years ago. Currently, Oregon is the only state with a law in place, and it applies to employers in the retail, hospitality and fast food industries.
The following cities also have predictive scheduling laws on the books. All are targeted to the retail and food service/fast food industries:
- Emeryville, CA
- New York City
- San Francisco
In addition, a pair of major American cities will see laws take effect this year:
- Philadelphia – Originally slated to take effect January 1, the law was delayed to April 2020 and applies to the retail, hospitality and food service industries. Its 10-day advance notification requirement will be extended to 14 days effective January 1, 2021.
- Chicago - Chicago’s predictive scheduling law is drawing attention because it affects a broader sweep of industries, including buildings services, manufacturing, healthcare, hotels, restaurants, retail, and warehouse services. It goes into effective July 1.
Furthermore, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing more of these laws soon. Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina and Rhode Island have previously or are currently considering legislation.
On the other hand, four states—Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa and Tennessee—have passed legislation prohibiting their cities from passing predictive scheduling legislation. Either way, there’s plenty to monitor.
The Business Case for Predictive Scheduling
Moving to predictive scheduling can be arduous for employers, particularly if their managers and/or scheduling software isn’t immediately up to the task. But there is an upside to offering predictive scheduling far beyond labor compliance.
For one thing, workers like it—and in an age of labor shortages and record-high turnover, keeping employees happy is the key to keeping one’s workforce well-staffed.
Furthermore, in a 2015 pilot, the Stable Scheduling Study, three Gap stores instituted predictive scheduling, giving workers two-week scheduling notice and eliminating on-call cancellations. During the pilot period, productivity rose by an impressive 5% and median sales rose by 7%. The results were so compelling, Gap rolled out the practice at all of its stores as soon as the study concluded.
For employers that operate on thin margins, predictive scheduling could be an effective workforce management tool, not just another law to comply with.
How to Move toward Predictive Scheduling
There are several steps you can take to move toward predictive scheduling, including:
- Analyze your current scheduling practices – If your managers are creating schedules on short notice and/or changing them on a daily basis, find out what’s driving those changes. For example, if chronic tardiness and absenteeism is the cause, addressing the root problem will automatically lead to smoother scheduling.
- Work with managers to change your procedures – Predictive scheduling may be a tough adjustment for managers who fly by the seat of their pants. Give them plenty of lead time, as well as training, to adapt to the new routine.
- Make sure your scheduling software is up to the challenge. - Your scheduling software must be able to apply predictive scheduling laws correctly by jurisdiction and make it easy for managers to share schedules with staff. It should generate detailed documentation, allowing you to periodically audit your performance and demonstrate compliance if necessary.
Not Up to Speed on Scheduling Software?
Surprisingly, less than half of employers are currently using scheduling software. If you’re one of them, EPAY’s advanced scheduling solution can ease predictive scheduling compliance, while allowing you to reap the advantages of optimized scheduling practices. For example, our software:
- Makes it easy for managers to create and edit schedules, while giving workers online 24/7 access to schedules.
- Allows managers to calculate actual labor costs for each proposed schedule, thanks to a built-in budget calculator.
- Allows workers to bid on open shifts and swap schedules—a proven employee pleaser.
- Generates reports and—working in conjunction with workforce management software—provides insightful analytics that helps managers improve their scheduling practices.
EPAY scheduling software was designed for the hourly workforce that is hard to track and manage. To learn how it works, start here.