Aug 1, 2019

Predictive Scheduling Laws Coming to a City Near You

Employee Work Schedule

What are predictive scheduling laws?

Predictive scheduling laws are laws that require employers to post employees’ work schedules a certain amount of time in advance and penalize employers for last minute changes to schedules.  For example, both San Francisco’s and Seattle’s city ordinances require employers to post employee work schedules 14 days in advance.  New York City requires that work schedules be posted 72 hours in advance.  San Francisco’s ordinance requires employers to pay employees 1 to 4 hours of pay if the employer changes the work schedule less than 7 days before the employee’s scheduled shift. Predictive scheduling laws also require employers to provide new employees with a “good faith” estimate of the amount of shifts the employee will work per month, including the expected dates and lengths of the shifts. Predictive scheduling laws may also impact on-call shifts.  For example, in Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held that employees must be paid “reporting time pay” under Wage Order 7-2001 if the employee is required to call in the same day as a scheduled on-call shift to see if the employee is required to physically show up for the shift and the employee is then told not to come to work that day. Note that these laws often have exceptions, including acts of God or mutually agreed to employee shift-swaps, which do not result in the employer compensating the employee for changes to a schedule.

Who do predictive scheduling laws impact?

These laws often impact employers in the hospitality, retail, and food service industries, but may also target any employer that uses on-call scheduling, hourly employees, or employees working for minimum wage. Currently, employers with employees in California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Washington State should ensure their scheduling practices comply with state and city ordinances regulating work schedule predictability. Note that Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, and Tennessee have passed state-wide legislation which prohibits local governments from passing ordinances or laws relating to employment matters outside state or federal requirements, meaning that unless the state itself passes a predictive scheduling law, employers operating in such locations need not worry about their scheduling practices in this regard.

If you have any questions regarding predictive scheduling laws, their applicability to your business or compliance strategies, please contact your labor and employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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