Building a Solid Shift: Predictive Scheduling Laws across the US
Even with the advent of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores still line the streets of many American cities. These stores command a powerful share of the market. An estimated 15% of Americans are employed in these retail establishments, supporting millions of families across the country. Retail workers typically work unstable schedules to match labor to incoming traffic, increasing profitability in the process. However, irregular or overlapping schedules can cause a considerable amount of stress for managers and employees alike. The Fair Workweek Initiative has been on this side of the issue for years now, which is why their main advocacy is to give workers control of their schedules in their respective jobs, giving employers and their families alike the opportunity for a healthy work-life balance.
Needless to say, for managers, keeping track of multiple employees or stores can result in errors. This includes badly made schedules and late notifications. Unfilled shifts are more likely in this scenario. For employees, not having a schedule ahead of time can cause lower job satisfaction and greater instances of work-family conflict. Both scenarios can lower profits and put thousands of livelihoods in jeopardy in the long run. In large part, some local governments and states in the US now implement predictive scheduling laws. This is also known as ‘fair scheduling’.
What is predictive scheduling?
Predictive scheduling laws require advanced notice when posting a schedule. This ranges from 48 hours to two weeks, depending on state law. They also restrict or ban employers from scheduling on-call shifts and adding pay incentives for these shifts. As of 2018, four cities and one state have enacted these laws. They are: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Emeryville, and the State of Oregon. Fair Workweek began its influence in the cities of San Francisco and Santa Clara County, CA. In 2014, people working hourly jobs in these cities have been given the basic standards for work-hours policy, i.e. Predictive Schedules, Opportunity to Work, Healthy Schedules, and Flexibility.
Some business giants have also started taking initiative. Last November, Walmart announced predictive scheduling for all US stores. The bottom line for all of them is to make schedules both more predictable and flexible for everyone.
Predictive scheduling across US cities
City of San Francisco
The first city to have a predictive work scheduling law, San Francisco’s ordinance covers retail stores, fast food franchises, and restaurant chains that have at least 40 establishments worldwide. Any contractors who provide janitorial or security services to these businesses are also covered by this law. It requires employers to do the following:
- Give new employees a document with a “good faith estimate” of their minimum number of scheduled shifts per month;
- Provide the days and hours of those shifts, including on-call shifts;
- Provide staff schedules (2 weeks in advance, including on-call shifts; and
- Give “Predictability Pay” of:
- One (1) hour at the regularly hourly rate for changes made less than 7 days but more than 24 hours after the advance notice
- Two (2) hours at the regularly hourly rate for changes made less than 24 hours before the scheduled shift, for shifts less than 4 hours long
- Four (4) hours at the regularly hourly rate for changes made less than 24 hours before the scheduled shift, for shifts over 4 hours long
New York City
New York City has different predictive work scheduling laws for retail businesses and fast food establishments which came into effect on 29 November 2017. Retail businesses that sell consumer goods and hire at least 20 employees are covered by the law and are required to:
- Provide employees with a written work schedule at least 72 hours before the first shift;
- Pay a penalty of $300 per employee if they fail to do so;
- Eliminate all on-call shifts, and pay a penalty of $500 per employee if they fail to do so;
- Permit employees to trade shifts, which is beneficial for employers and employees alike; and
- Make all changes 72 hours before it is scheduled to start.
Retail businesses are prohibited from canceling a shift 72 hours before it is scheduled to start.
The predictive scheduling law also covers fast food businesses that have at least 30 establishments nationally. Employers are required to:
- Give staff their schedules 14 days (two weeks) in advance; and
- Ensure there is a minimum of 11 hours between each shift, to avoid “clopening” or consecutive closing and opening shifts.
City of Emeryville
For the City of Emeryville, retail and fast food employers should conduct regular calculations to determine whether or not they are covered by the Fair Workweek regulations. Retail firms with 56 or more employees globally, and fast food firms with 56 or more employees globally and 20 or more employees in Emeryville are required to:
- Give new employees a document with a “good faith estimate” of their minimum number of scheduled shifts per month and the days and hours of those shifts, including on-call shifts;
- Provide staff schedules 2 weeks in advance, whether through a public post at the workplace or electronic methods;
- Give “Predictability Pay” of:
- One (1) hour at the regularly hourly rate for changes made less than 14 days but more than 24 hours after the advance notice
- Four (4) hours at the regularly hourly rate for changes made less than 24 hours before the shift starts;
- Allow the employee to decline work hours if it starts less than 11 hours after end of previous day’s shift.
City of Seattle
In Seattle, covered by the predictive work scheduling law are retail and foodservice establishments that have at least 500 employees worldwide, and full-service restaurants that have at least 500 employees and 40 locations worldwide. They are required to:
- Provide staff schedules 2 weeks in advance, including on-call shifts
- Give an extra hour’s worth of pay at their regular hourly rate if:
- Extra hours were added to the schedule
- The start and end times were changed with no loss of hours
- Give one-half of the employee’s scheduled rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work if their:
- Employer subtracted hours from an employee’s schedule
- Start and end times are changed resulting in loss of hours
- Shift was canceled
- Scheduled on-call shift is one they don’t need to report for
Predictive scheduling in the State of Oregon
In July 2018, the State or Oregon became the first to implement statewide predictive scheduling laws, which requires retail, food service, and hospitality industry employers with at least 500 employees worldwide to:
- Give new employees a document with a “good faith estimate” of their minimum number of scheduled shifts per month;he days and hours of those shifts;
- Provide staff schedules 7 days in advance from 1 July 2018;
- Provide staff schedules 14 days in advance from 1 July 2020;
- Give 1 hour of pay at the regular hourly rate if their:
- Employer adds more than 30 minutes of work to their shift
- Start and end times were changed with no loss of hours
- Employer schedules an additional work shift or an on-call shift
- Give one-half times the employee’s scheduled rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work if their:
- Shift was canceled
- Shift was shortened or their scheduled hours were reduced
Oregon employers have the option to invite staff to a “voluntary standby list” who can work extra hours, but the additional compensations don’t apply to them.
Make Predictive Scheduling hassle-free
With these key changes in scheduling employees in the retail and fast food industries, other employers can only expect that similar laws will be implemented in other cities and states. Employers need to be prepared to manage schedules efficiently to not incur any penalties and increase overall productivity. While predictive scheduling sounds like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be.
Workforce success platforms that specialize in creating schedules and communicating them to employees are already readily available in the United States. One such platform is Tanda, with a Scheduling Software that eliminates manual scheduling work.
With Tanda, employers can build schedules to match customer demand, see staff availability in real-time, save templates, and set targets and cost schedules to make sure the schedule is never over budget. Laws will soon require schedules to be provided one or two weeks in advance. Conveniently, custom schedule templates can be saved and applied in seconds. Thus, compliance is a given every time. Informing employees of their shift is also a breeze. They can receive published schedules instantly through Tanda’s Scheduling App, or even via SMS and email.
Tanda also has a Cognitive Scheduling feature which takes schedule management to the next level with smart algorithms and proprietary logic to weigh employment types, pay rates, age, skill level of staff, and much more to generate the best schedule that maximizes all resources. Employers can run multiple scenario testing against qualified data inputs to suggest an optimal output. This, and multiple other features, ensure a hassle-free schedule that fits all staffing requirements. They can even be sent to employees at the touch of a button.
Technology is the future of workforce management, and Tanda is built to get you there.