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Predictive Work Schedule Laws: A City-By-City Guide
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Workforce Management

Predictive Work Schedule Laws: A City-By-City Guide

What are Predictive Work Schedule Laws?

Predictive work schedule laws—also known as ‘Fair Workweek’ laws—promote fairer scheduling practices, require that companies give employees sufficient notice of work schedules and enforce penalties for late schedule changes.

Fair workweek laws typically require employers to:

  • Give good faith estimations of likely hours on hiring
  • Provide minimum break times between shifts
  • Avoid “clopening” shifts (where employees work closing and then opening shifts)
  • Offer right of first refusal for new shifts to current employees before new hires
  • Avoid late schedule changes (or pay extra) except due to “acts of god” (e.g., a hurricane)
  • Pay increased rates for late schedule changes (often known as “predictability pay”)
  • Keep more detailed schedule records

The Rise of ‘Fair Workweek’ Regulations

On-call and just-in-time scheduling means that many Americans’ work schedules are unpredictable from month to month, week to week or even day to day. Nationwide, more than 8 million retail and food service workers receive less than seven days’ notice of upcoming shifts, suggest recent estimates.

On January 1, 2021, Chicago became the latest major American city to enforce work schedule laws. Days later, New York City strengthened its Fair Workweek legislation to protect against sudden reductions in shift-volume for fast food workers. Several other states also considering predictive schedule laws, which could mean compliance nightmares ahead for companies who operate in multiple jurisdictions.

Where Do Predictive Schedule Laws Apply?

states with predictive scheduling laws

The following places have passed predictive work schedule laws:

California

Where?Who Does it Apply To?Employees are guaranteed…*
Berkeley, CAThose that employ 10 or more employees. This includes any agent of the employer, including a temporary service or staffing agency, that employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of an employee.– An employee has the right to request a flexible or predictable work schedule.
– Employers who receive a request must meet with the requesting employee within 21 calendar days of the request.
– The employer must consider and respond to the employee’s request in writing within 21 calendar days of the meeting.
San Francisco, CAChain stores with 40+ stores worldwide and 20+ employees locally– Right of first refusal on new shifts
– Good faith schedule estimates on hiring
– 14 day notice of schedules
– “Predictability pay” for late changes
– Extra pay for on-call shifts
Los Angeles, CAThe ordinance applies to all employers who:
– Have 300 or more employees globally.
– Any employee who performs at least two hours of work within the City of Los Angeles and who qualifies as an employee under Labor Code section 1197 and the wage orders.
– Are identified as a retail business or establishment in the North American Industry Classification System (NAISCS) within the retail trade categories and subcategories 44 through 45; and
– Directly, indirectly or through an agent (including through a temporary or staffing agency) exercise control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any employee.
– Employees have the right to request preference for certain hours, times, or locations of work.
– Additional work hours must be offered to current employees before hiring new employees.
– Employers may not require employees to find coverage for their shift if unable to work for reasons protected by law.
– Employers may not schedule an employee to work a shift that starts less than 10 hours from the employee’s last shift without the employee’s written consent. Employers must pay a premium of time and a half for each shift that is not separated by at least 10 hours.
– Employers must maintain records for at least three years of the work schedules, written offers and responses for additional work hours, written correspondence about work schedule changes, good faith estimates of work schedules, and “any other records that may be required to comply with the FWWO.
– Notice and posting of employee rights under the ordinance.
Emeryville, CARetail or fast food companies with 56+ employees worldwide and 20+ employees locally– Retail or fast food companies with 56+ employees worldwide and 20+ employees locally
– Right of first refusal on new shifts
14 day notice of schedules
– “Predictability pay” for late changes
– Up to 4 hours pay for shifts cancelled with less than a day’s notice
– Extra pay for short breaks between shifts
– Right to decline last-minute shifts
San Jose, CaliforniaEmployers of 36 or more employees.– An employer must offer additional work hours to existing employees before hiring new employees or subcontractors (including temporary workers).
– An employer is not required to offer additional hours to existing employees if the employer would be required to pay the employee at a premium rate.
– There is a possible exemption when complying with this requirement if it would create a hardship for the employer.

Other Cities and States

Where?Who Does it Apply To?Employees are guaranteed…*
Chicago, ILCompanies with 50+ “covered employees” (earning $26/hour or $50,000/year or less) and 100+ employees worldwide in retail, healthcare, hotels, manufacturing, building and warehouse services, 250+ employees worldwide at nonprofits, and 250+ employees and 30+ locations worldwide at restaurants– Estimate of schedule on hiring
– 10 day notice of schedule (Rising to 14 days in 2022)
– Right to decline and – ‘Predictability pay’ for late schedule changes
– Immediately notification of schedule changes
– Right to decline “Clopening” shifts
Oregon (statewide)Retail, hospitality and food service companies with 500+ employees worldwide– Good faith estimate of median scheduled hours on hiring
– 7 day notice of schedules
– Right to rest between shifts
– Right to request changes
– “Predictability pay” for late changes (unless employee is on voluntary standby list)
New York, NYFast food companies with 30+ US locations and retail companies with 20+ sellersFast food
– Good faith schedule estimates on hiring
– Right of first refusal on new shifts
–14 day notice of schedules
– Immediately notification of cancelled shifts
– Right to refuse and extra pay for “clopening” shifts
– “Predictability pay” for late changes
– “Just Cause” protection against reductions in hours (effective 7/1/2021)

Retail
– 72 hour notice of schedules
– Right to decline last minute shifts
– No on-call shifts
– No last-minute cancellations
Philadelphia, PARetail, hospitality and food service companies with 250+ employees and 30+ locations worldwide– Right of first refusal on new shifts
– Good faith schedule estimate on hiring
– Right to request changes
– Right to decline extra shifts
– 10 day notice of schedules
– ‘Predictability pay’ for late changes
Immediate notification of schedule changes
– Right to refuse and bonus pay for “Clopening” shifts
Seattle, WARetail and quick service restaurants with 500+ employees worldwide and full service restaurant with 40+ locations and 40+ employees worldwide– Good faith schedule estimates on hiring
– Right of first refusal on new shifts
– Right to state schedules preferences
–14 day notice of schedules
– Right of refusal and extra pay for “clopening” shifts
– “Predictability pay” for late schedule changes

*Philadelphia mandates that schedule records be kept for 2 years. Every other locality requires 3 years.

The following states have prohibited local governments passing predictive work schedule laws:

  • Iowa
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia

Predictive Work Schedule Laws: How to Stay Compliant

Even if you aren’t affected by existing Fair Workweek laws, you might be soon—there’s a campaign for wide-ranging predictive work schedule laws at a federal level. Businesses of all sizes should be ready to inform employees of schedules in advance, and avoid schedules with minimal breaks between shifts.

Avoidance is easier than tracking predictability pay and if you don’t want labor costs to skyrocket, or to be caught short-staffed, that means putting a system in place to create more efficient schedules, quicker. At a minimum, you’ll want to digitize your records.

woman looking at work schedules on laptop

Key Takeaway – Better Scheduling Helps Everyone

The thing is, it’s not just about staying compliant—scheduling instability increases employees’ psychological distress (U. of California). Better scheduling helps: the predictive work schedule law in Emeryville, in effect since 2017, has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels for covered employees with young children (Duke University).

And that’s not all: stable scheduling can also improve business profitability, research suggests. Part of the story is that work life balance and flexibility is key to employee engagement, which in turn has a big effect on productivity and staff turnover.

Paycor Can Help

Watch our Webinar: Are You Scheduling Like a Pro, to learn how Paycor Scheduling helps medium and small businesses increase productivity and track labor costs while staying compliant.