What to Know About Predictive Scheduling AKA “Fair Workweek” Laws


Predictive Scheduling, also known as “Fair Workweek”, “Predictable Scheduling”, and “Fair Scheduling”, describes the growing trend of legislation around hourly scheduling practices. Predictive Scheduling laws have been passed in several regions of the U.S. and are likely to expand to others. The policies affect employers of hourly workers – specifically those with a significant number of employees and locations.

In this article, we’ll go over where Predictive Scheduling policies have been adopted, the key components of this type of legislation, and how companies can achieve compliance while maintaining flexible scheduling.

Cities (and a State) that have Adopted Predictive Scheduling Laws

At the time of writing, several regions across the U.S. have adopted Predictive Scheduling laws. These include San Francisco; Emeryville, CA; Seattle; New York City; Philadelphia; Chicago, and the state of Oregon. Vermont and New Hampshire have passed laws specifically pertaining to Right to Request, and San Jose adopted an ordinance focused on Opportunity to Work (we’ll go over what those mean below).

Each city and state’s policy is unique, and their requirements for the industries and companies that qualify vary. For instance, in New York City, retailers with 30 or more locations in the U.S. and more than 20 employees qualify. Generally, Predictive Scheduling laws apply to retail, food service, and hospitality organizations. Subcontractors in those industries also generally qualify under the laws.

Key Components of Predictive Scheduling Policies

There are several aspects of scheduling and staffing that Predictive Scheduling laws address. Not all Predictive Scheduling policies address all areas, and their specific requirements differ. Overall, the laws aim to improve scheduling stability, pay reliability, and quality of life for hourly workers. Here are the key components that show up in Predictive Scheduling ordinances:

  • Advanced Notice of Schedules
    • Employers must provide work schedules at least two weeks in advance. Any changes to the schedule within two weeks could result in fees for the employer. Employees also typically have the right to decline hours added to the schedule.
  • Good Faith Estimate of Hours
    • Employees must receive an estimate of the number of hours they’ll be likely to work. Some policies require the Good Faith Estimate at the time of hiring, and in some cities, employers must update their estimate on a regular basis.
  • Appropriate Rest Periods
    • To reduce the frequency of “clopenings”, in which an employee closes a store and then returns in the morning to open, many ordinances require rest periods between shifts. For instance, in Emeryville employees must have an 11-hour rest period.
  • Right to Request Scheduling Accommodations
    • Hourly workers often have additional responsibilities, such as children, taking care of an elderly family member, or attending school. To address this, several cities require employers to honor employees’ scheduling accommodation requests.
  • Part-Time Parity
    • Part-time workers should be given the same opportunities for wages and promotions as full-time employees.
  • Opportunity to Work
    • Before an employer may hire additional staff, they must notify their existing staff of extra available hours. Employers need to post a notice for a designated number of days.
  • Post Notice of Fair Workweek Rights
    • Employers will alert employees to their rights under any local Fair Workweek legislation by posting a notice in the workplace.
  • Recordkeeping
    • In several cities, employers have to keep employee and scheduling records for three years. Employers may need to keep records of the following: Good Faith Estimates, a history of all shift changes, employee schedules, payroll records, and other employee information. Records must be presented upon request by local labor boards and employees.

How Predictive Scheduling Affects Companies

Qualifying employers in regions with Predictive Scheduling laws will want to take a look at their scheduling practices. Changes within the advance notice period can result in premiums and fines. In Seattle, managers cutting hours are still required to pay half of the employee’s wages for those hours. In New York, cutting an employee’s hours last-minute incurs a $75 fine.

While the laws help increase stability for workers, they can also impact the amount of flexibility for employers and employees alike. Fortunately, the laws make some allowances for last-minute schedule changes, and it’s possible to comply with Predictive Scheduling while staying flexible. With a mobile workforce management solution like Shyft, companies can make changes to the schedule, improve work-life balance for employees, and comply with Predictive Scheduling. Here’s how:

  • Schedule changes are acceptable if voluntarily initiated and consented to by employees. Shyft supports employee-to-employee shift swaps and prompts the employee to give voluntary consent to the change.
  • Shyft’s mass communication tools allow companies to broadcast shifts to team members. They can then voluntarily consent to cover shifts added to the schedule.
  • Employers can distribute electronic copies of the schedule quickly and efficiently with Shyft to satisfy advanced notice.
  • Shyft keeps digital records of schedule changes as they occur and makes them readily accessible in the Enterprise Dashboard.

Explore Flexible Scheduling Opportunities with Shyft

Each industry, company, and regional policy is different. Shyft can be configured to meet a company’s unique situation. Shyft makes it possible to comply with Predictive Scheduling while improving employee satisfaction, reducing absenteeism by 61%, and saving managers 1-4 hours per week.

If your company is affected by Predictive Scheduling, we’d love to discuss ways Shyft can help. Feel free to contact us to schedule a demo. In the meantime, learn more about the Predictive Scheduling laws in New York City and Oregon.

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