Time & Attendance
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By Andie Burjek
Jun. 10, 2020
Predictive scheduling laws have changed the way many businesses make their schedules. While there are many details in these rules — like record keeping requirements and providing compensation for schedule changes — what people most talk about is employers’ responsibility to provide employee schedules in advance.
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The purpose of these laws is to give employees more predictability and stability, providing them a chance to plan ahead. If they know their work hours in advance, they will more likely be able to plan for a second job, child care or other responsibilities that must be planned in advance.
Still, these laws mean that businesses must stay compliant with new regulations, and for employers with multiple locations across the country, they may have different rules to comply with. Following is some of the basic information about each of these laws.
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How far in advance must a work schedule be posted?
The timing varies. Currently, there are several laws in cities across the United States. Four cities in California have predictive scheduling laws: San Francisco, Emeryville, San Jose and Berkeley. Other cities and municipalities include New York, Seattle, SeaTac and Philadelphia. Chicago joins these July 1, 2020.
Meanwhile, Oregon is the only state with such a law in effect, while New Hampshire and Vermont have more limited scheduling-related laws.
These laws have specific stipulations for which businesses must comply to the rules, and they also have many other details employers must be familiar with. However, looking at this from a more basic point of view, here is how much notice employers whom the laws apply to must give employees in each location:
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Complying with predictive scheduling laws
How far in advance must a work schedule be posted? These regulations provide clear numbers on the minimum employers must do, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go above and beyond that.
Employees are beginning to return to work after months of quarantine. The conversation around predictive scheduling will have to evolve because of the coronavirus, said Ari Hersher, partner at Seyfarth law firm. Employers can begin improving on the communication they have with employees.
“Employers should do what they can to communicate as far in advance about their anticipated schedule as possible,” he said, adding that the clients he works with that are subject to predictive scheduling laws give up to 21 days notice on schedules.
Managers can communicate scheduling in advance and explain the flexibility needs of the business at the same time, creating an open line of communication between employer and employee.
“Employers can say, ‘We’ll give you 30 days notice, but please understand that our scheduling needs are volatile,’ ” he said. “People should [try to] understand each others’ needs and be mindful of them.”
David Kopsch, principal consultant at Mercer, agreed that giving more notice will benefit employers right now. The return-to-work environment is stressful. Employers must create employee work schedules without knowing what sort of customer demand to expect, and some employees may be fearful to return to work in a customer-facing job.
Organizations can provide schedules to employees up to four weeks in advance, Kopsch said. From there, they can call and confirm with employees three weeks in advance, make whatever changes are necessary and officially post the schedule two weeks ahead of time, which would allow employers to comply with any of the predictable schedule laws.
“We are seeing much more communication coming from employers, and what [employers] are sharing with us is employees like it,” Kopsch said. “They like this high level of communication. They like the engagement and the concern and empathy that employers are demonstrating,”
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