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“Nearly one in five Americans has an unstable work schedule and about 40 percent of early career workers, defined as workers aged 26 – 32, have less than one-week advance notice of their schedules.” – Bill de Blasio, Former Mayor of New York City.

Predictive scheduling laws are a recent development in the United States aimed at providing employees with more stable work schedules. These scheduling laws have far-reaching implications for employers across various industries, mainly retail and food service. Though compliance with these regulations can pose challenges, businesses benefit from improved productivity and employee satisfaction. Employers must understand predictive scheduling laws and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance, including utilizing technology and document retention practices. This blog is a guide to understanding predictive scheduling laws and offers practical tips on how to stay compliant.

What does the “Fair Workweek” or “Predictive Scheduling” mean?

Predictive Scheduling (or sometimes Advance Scheduling) laws, also called the “Fair Workweek,” are concepts that refer to a labor movement in the US that aims to promote and protect workers’ rights to predictable employment schedules. The concept of Fair Scheduling represents a growing awareness of the negative impact of unpredictable work schedules on the personal lives, health, and finances of those who depend on hourly, shift or part-time employment. As a result, the passage of Predictive Scheduling legislation and regulations in many parts of the U.S. require employers to:

  • Pay workers extra to compensate employees for working non-consecutive hours or for being sent home before completing their entire shifts.
  • Make efforts to improve employee scheduling by making it more stable, fair, and transparent.
  • Help hourly, part-time, and shift workers balance and manage their personal lives with professional responsibilities

Fair Workweek laws and principles ensure workers receive appropriate schedules and legal protections and address abusive scheduling practices. 

Why are Predictive Scheduling laws important?

These scheduling laws and principles provide employees with stable work schedules and protect them from abusive scheduling practices. Even so, these laws also present significant challenges for employers regarding staffing, costs, document retention, and general compliance.

FAQ: Regarding Fair Workweek & Predictive Scheduling

Fair Workweek laws are on the rise because hourly workers want to know their schedules ahead of time to plan appointments, budgeting, childcare, and family time. To prepare for predictive scheduling laws, organizations can opt for automated scheduling solutions that enable managers to develop schedules in advance, determine employee availability, allow adequate rest time between shifts, and maintain all operational rules to keep the business compliant.

What are the benefits of predictive scheduling for employees?

The main benefits of predictive scheduling for employees are improved work-life balance, financial planning, increased employee productivity, and improved business performance. Plus, predictive scheduling provides advance notice of employment schedules, allowing employees to plan their lives without worrying about last-minute shift cancellations or changes. Furthermore, employees can accurately predict their monthly salaries and decide whether secondary employment income is necessary. Lastly, Fair Workweek schedules increase employee productivity and satisfaction, a benefit that helps recruit and retain the best talent for your positions.

benefits of predictive scheduling for employees

What are the legal requirements for predictive scheduling, and how can businesses comply?

Fair Workweek scheduling laws have been implemented in cities and states across the US, aiming to help staff balance their work duties with personal responsibilities. These laws include rules such as posting schedules in advance, offering an estimate of work hours at the time of hire, offering additional hours to current part-time employees before hiring new ones, and providing extra pay for changing schedules after posting them. Fair scheduling ensures staff get adequate rest time between shifts, and requires employers to maintain scheduling records for a minimum time period.

How can predictive scheduling reduce business costs and staff turnover?

Predictive scheduling laws have been passed in various cities and states in the United States, requiring employers to provide advance notice of work schedules and a written estimate of each employee’s anticipated work schedule, along with predictability pay in the absence of sufficient advance notice of work schedule. Employers must also offer additional hours to current part-time employees before hiring a new employee, following posting requirements, and maintaining stringent documentation and document retention requirements.

Note: Compliance with these laws reduces turnover as employees feel valued and their work-life balance improves. In addition, using technology and data analytics to predict staffing needs, reduces unanticipated scheduling changes and saves businesses money.

What tools or technologies can businesses use to implement predictive Fair Scheduling?

Several tools and technologies are available to businesses to support the implementation of predictive scheduling. For example, cloud-based scheduling software like TimeWellScheduled can help companies to create and manage schedules efficiently, lawfully, and accurately. TimeWellScheduled allows businesses to centralize schedule planning, track time and attendance, and avoid human errors.

TimeWellscheduleds template features help to replicate work schedules, reducing the time it takes to create new ones. Additionally, TimeWellscheduled ensures that businesses can share employee schedules across devices, ensuring worker accountability. In sum, organizations that use TimeWellScheduled’s scheduling software to implement Fair Workweek policies can achieve better employee retention and reduce the financial costs of turnover. Click here to learn more!

What potential challenges do businesses face in implementing predictive scheduling?

Predictive scheduling requires employers to provide employees with advance notice of their schedules, resulting in less flexibility and the need to accommodate fluctuating labor needs. This may lead to fewer shifts being offered to staff, negatively impacting their income. Employers may also need help to comply with the new laws while juggling multiple locations or varying labor needs.

To mitigate these issues, businesses have several options. For instance, managers can centralize their scheduling processes using TimeWellScheduled’s scheduling software. TimeWellScheduled’s scheduling system enables managers to create schedules in advance, determine employee availability, and maintain compliance with operational rules. And, employers can offer a volunteer schedule sign-up list for employees interested in extra shifts. While predictive scheduling laws may bring new challenges, they allow employers to update their staffing systems and comply with new labor laws. 

“(Businesses) are looking at their bottom dollar and won’t schedule you unless they absolutely need you. And then you don’t know until a few days before whether or not you’re even going to be asked to work.” – Alicia Fleming.

Tips For Implementing Predictive Scheduling Laws & Principles

    1. Determine if your business is a “covered employer” under the predictive scheduling law of your jurisdiction.
    2. Develop policies and forms specific to the predictive scheduling law applicable to your business.
    3. Train managers on the laws to ensure they can facilitate and document compliance.
    4. Create and maintain a system for storing documents and data based on the volume of records required for compliance.
    5. Audit compliance regularly ensures policies are respected and documents are managed appropriately.
    6. Utilize TimeWellScheduled’s scheduling software to anticipate future staffing needs, reduce the likelihood of unanticipated changes, and avoid predictability pay.
    7. Maintain a written estimate of each employee’s anticipated work schedule at the time of hire.
    8. Give employees adequate advance notice of work schedules, generally at least 14 days in advance.
    9. Implement a right-to-rest requirement to prevent “cloning” and amplify pay for close-in-time work shifts.
    10. Offer additional hours to current part-time employees before hiring a new employee. 

FYI: Clopening combines the words “closing” and “opening” and describes the practice of employees working a closing shift followed directly by an opening shift with very few hours for rest in between. In some cases, clopeners have as little as four hours between shifts depending on the specific hours.

“Irregular work schedules are more pervasive in the food services and production and retail industries than in all other industries (except the highly seasonal and weather-determined agriculture industry)” – Economic Policy Institute.

Predictive scheduling laws are becoming increasingly important for employers to understand and implement. While compliance may require a significant shift in traditional scheduling practices and administrative duties, the benefits for businesses are clear: improved employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. By following the tips outlined in this blog, employers can ensure they meet predictive scheduling requirements and avoid potential fines and legal action. As predictive scheduling laws continue to evolve and expand across the country, employers must stay informed and act to remain compliant.

About TimeWellScheduled

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TimeWellScheduled is a secure online time and attendance software 100% tailored to meet your scheduling needs! In addition, TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance tracking & payroll tasks and enhances staff management capabilities. Plus, our service is free for up to 10 employees!

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