How far in advance do you give your employees their work schedules? If it’s less than 14 days, you could be in violation of predictive scheduling laws depending on if you operate in certain jurisdictions or industries.
These laws, also known as “fair workweek laws,” are becoming more widespread.
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. They are designed to give workers more stability and control over other aspects of their lives, like arranging child care and working at 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. Predictive scheduling laws benefit employees with fluctuating schedules, part-time employees and just about anyone who works for an hourly wage.
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 could down the road.
The Rundown: Predictive Scheduling Laws 2022
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. Since it went into effect in July 2018, many more cities and states throughout the United States have considered regulations and legislation regarding predictive scheduling policies, and some cities already have laws on the books.
The following cities have predictive scheduling laws. All are targeted at the retail and food-service/fast-food industries:
- Emeryville, California
- New York
- San Francisco
Furthermore, we’ll likely 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. For example, if your current software doesn’t integrate well with other applications, it can be difficult for employees to manage everything in one place. 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, based on a 2021 fair workweek study done in Seattle, this sort of increased stability resulted in positive developments in employees’ well-being, sleep quality and economic stability.
Once two weeks’ notice was required when assembling work schedules, researchers tracked the impact of this law on local employees compared to employees in other cities and states that do not have these laws and regulations. Seattle employees reported a whopping 10 percentage point decrease in reports of material hardships on the job. In other words, less stress. For employers that operate on thin margins, predictive scheduling has the potential to be an effective workforce management tool, not just another way to comply with the law.
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 daily, find out what’s driving those changes. For example, if chronic tardiness and absenteeism are 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.
- Ensure 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 that allows 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. Strong scheduling software will:
- Make it easy for managers to create and edit schedules while giving workers 24/7 online access to schedules.
- Allow managers to calculate actual labor costs for each proposed schedule thanks to a built-in budget calculator.
- Allow workers to bid on open shifts and swap schedules—a proven employee pleaser.
- Generate reports and—working in conjunction with workforce management software—provide insightful analytics that help 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.