Predictive Scheduling: The Fair Work Week

Abstract

Predictive Scheduling refers to the set of laws requiring employers to provide advance notice for employee work schedules as well as provide “predictability pay” for “on call” employees. Sometimes called secure scheduling, fair scheduling or the fair workweek, San Francisco first passed Predictive Scheduling laws in 2015. Since then, six other municipalities and one state (Oregon) have adopted Predictive Scheduling in an effort to address concerns that short notice scheduling changes, as well as “on call” scheduling practices, have a significant impact on employees’ ability to schedule caregiving, attend school, hold multiple jobs, and plan their finances. Nine other states are currently considering measures to pass Predictive Scheduling legislation, with Georgia being the only state so far to ban its municipalities from enacting predictability pay requirements.

The Goal and Effects of Predictive Scheduling

While the laws vary, in general Predictive Scheduling aims to ensure employers post schedules earlier and provide adequate compensation for “on call” employees. Most predictive scheduling laws share the following requirements:

  • Employers must release schedules a certain amount of time in advance
  • Employers must provide compensation for scheduling changes that do not comply with predictive scheduling laws.
  • Employers must allow a set number of hours between shifts for rest or provide a higher rate of pay for working during this rest period.
  • Employers must provide predictability pay for “on call” employees even if they are not called in to work.

The immediate results of Predictive Scheduling can be seen in San Francisco where a recent study found that:

  • 35% of employers have become less flexible with employee schedules
  • 21% of businesses offer fewer part-time shifts
  • 4% are pursuing self-service automation instead of hiring employees

Oregon

In September 2017, the State of Oregon became the first state to enact a “Fair Work Week Act.” The Act will go into effect July 1, 2018, and will pose a number of new challenges for employers, especially in the hospitality, retail, and food service industries, where unpredictable schedules are common.

Oregon’s “Fair Work Week Act” spells out the following provisions for Employers:

  • The Act applies to large employers with over 500 employees in retail, hospitality and food service.
  • Hourly and temporary agency Employees are covered; salaried employees are exempt.
  • Employers must provide good faith work schedule estimates to new hires.
  • Employers must give covered employees advance notice of their work schedule.
  • Employers may maintain lists of standby employees willing to work extra hours.
  • Standby list requirements:
    • The list must be voluntary.
    • Employees can request removal from the list at any time.
    • Notification procedures must be provided in writing.
    • Employees can refuse additional hours when offered.
    • Employees on the list are not entitled to additional compensation.
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees who request certain times off.
    • They are not required to grant the request and may ask for verification.
  • Employees may refuse to work schedule changes that fail to comply with the Act without fear of discipline. Acceptance of the changes entitles the employee to additional compensation.
  • Employees are entitled to one extra hour of pay at their normal pay rate for changes made in without advance notice
    • Employees are entitled to one-half their regular wages for shifts they refuse to work due to changes made without advance notice.
  • Employers may not schedule or require an employee to work for ten hours following the end of their previous shift unless the employee consents or requests to work those hours.
  • Employers must post a notice in the workplace regarding Predictive Scheduling rights and must retain compliance records for three years.
  • Effective January 2019, the act will allow for private cause of actions against employers who interfere, restrain, deny or attempt to deny, retaliate or discriminate against employees invoking the Act.
  • Employers failing to comply can face $1,000 in punitive damages in addition to paying any wages owed to the employee. This penalty is often waived by 50% if wages are repaid within 14 days.

How NOVAtime can help with Predictive Scheduling

As a leader in Workforce Management / Time and Attendance solutions, NOVAtime is able to offer unique assistance to businesses in states and municipalities with Predictive Scheduling laws.

NOVAtime’s Advanced Schedule Manager can help employers automate scheduling, shift changes, and standby lists, to ensure compliance with Predictive Scheduling laws. Criteria can be defined for removing employees from a schedule based on Predictive Scheduling guidelines or to alert supervisors attempting to schedule employees outside of these parameters.

ASM also has the ability to identify employees who are qualified and available to fill open schedules. The system can suggest employees to fill shifts based on a number of rules that can be configured to mirror the Act. It can keep a static list of “standby” employees and allows for a “schedule giveaway” function where employees to “giveaway” or bid on available work hours. With almost 20 years of experience working with local, state and federal governments, NOVAtime can implement solutions designed to accommodate Predictive Scheduling laws and protect businesses from non-compliance.

Conclusion

Predictive Scheduling laws were created to address hardships that can be associated with unpredictable and “on call” scheduling practices. Employees in certain industries were identified as suffering from these practices the most. These new laws and regulations pose a significant challenge to employers to both comply with them while at the same time maintaining practical business habits. With its experience and expertise, NOVAtime can equip businesses with the tools they need to remain compliant while also remaining cost efficient.

Bibliography

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