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Fair workweek laws and shift schedules

Posted on 2/12/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

Various major cities like Seattle, New York City, Ontario as well as some cities in California are implementing "predictive scheduling" or "Fair Workweek" laws.

And, many policymakers are beginning to look into this issue. For the past several years, certain cities have passed "fair workweek" laws with the goal of making more predictable shift scheduling (or at least pay employees when they're not predictable).

This legislation requires specific types of businesses, mainly large food and retail service businesses with hundreds of employees, start creating shift schedules a couple weeks in advance and if there are last-minute changes to the schedule, compensate employees. They're also requiring employers to allow employees to take adequate rest time between their scheduled shifts.

These laws also pose hefty penalties and fines for those employers who don't comply.

While these laws have varying degrees in their methods, their goal is typically to help employees plan their budgets and schedules. Using the example of the healthcare industry, some main elements of the Fair Workweek laws are:

1. Notice of Emergency Medicine Scheduling in Advance

Employers have to post up employees' schedules a minimum of a couple of weeks in advance. If they make and schedule changes within these couple weeks, they could face fees. Also, workers can typically decline any added hours to their schedule.

2. Provide Existing Employees with Work Opportunities

Before employers can hire extra staff, they are required to let their existing employees know there are extra hours available. They must put up a notice for a certain number of days.

3. "Good Faith Estimate"

Employers must provide employees with an estimate of how many hours they could end up working. The "Good Faith Estimate" is required by some policies, to be provided at the time employees are hired and employers need to regularly update this estimate in some cities.

4. Right to Request Physician Scheduling Accommodations

Hourly employees frequently have extra responsibilities like:
- Taking care of a senior parent
- Children
- Going to school

A few cities are addressing this by requiring employers to honor schedule accommodation requests by employees.

5. Part-Time Parity

Part-time employees should have the same wage and promotion opportunities as full-time workers.

6. Post Fair Workweek Rights Notice

Employers must let workers know their Fair Workweek Rights under local laws by posting up a notice.

7. Recordkeeping

In a few cities, employers must keep scheduling and employee records for a minimum of three years. Employers might have to maintain records of:

- Shift changes history
- Good Faith Estimates
- Payroll records
- Employee schedules
- Other workers information
Employers must present records upon request by employees as well as local labor boards.

8. Adequate Periods of Rest

To decrease how often "clopenings" (where an employee works a late shift until closing and then opens the next morning on an opening shift) occur, a lot of ordinances require a resting period between shifts.Like with any employment law, in impacted areas, employers must first evaluate if they are in an area where they need to comply. Then, if they are required to comply, employers in these areas must read, have an understanding and comply with the law.

Shift scheduling software can help automate the schedules and comply with the law.

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