Predictive scheduling laws are among the newest initiatives in human resources and labor laws. These laws began being put in place to overcome the problem workers were having with not being able to plan properly for their family’s needs due to unpredictable schedules, such as last-minute cancellations or scheduling.

In 2015, San Francisco enacted such laws that stopped low-wage, students, and second-job workers from having to face transportation, financial, and child care hardships due to last minute scheduling changes. Typically, these changes were a result of being sent home before the end of their shift due to low customer traffic or staying late due to staffing shortfalls.

Workers struggled with securing last-minute childcare changes or paying for transportation and not having a significant wage to cover the cost. The laws work to stabilize the income for certain employees who are expected to make “on-call” type schedule changes. And these laws are becoming more common across the US, with Seattle and New York already making changes to labor law.

The downside of these changes to the law are that many staff choose their jobs based on flexible working conditions. They want the option to change their work schedule at the last minute. An article by Beatrice Garza from the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans  discusses the concerns these new laws pose in an article on The Hill, outlining that they will reduce flexibility and eliminate the overall number of positions.

What do Predictive Scheduling Laws Include?

In Seattle, employers provide good-faith estimates of work hours to new hires and work to provide schedules 2 weeks in advance, or be paid additional compensation. Most of their laws apply to the retail and food service industries in larger scale businesses.

Overall, the laws require available hours be offered to current employees before the hiring process begins for additional staffing. They also penalize last minute changes, so it’s important to understand scheduling needs more than ever before to maintain profitability.

When employees are required to call in to verify whether or not they are working, usually within a two-hour window, that is considered “on-call” and will come at a premium to employers. These practices will either no longer be allowed, or will create additional cost to employers who use them. These laws tend to primarily apply to retail and food service industries, and can even be specific to regions, so awareness of the laws in your area are crucial for proper labor compliance.

What You Should Know as an Employer

First, determine if your business is required to conform to predictive scheduling laws, and if not, if it makes sense to set a best practice of conforming if even not required.

Second, consider systems that will support labor compliance and maintain positive employee morale by encouraging engagement and participation in scheduling changes. Businesses will want to begin to educate scheduling managers on the laws and their application.

Third, consider tools that help maximize labor and reduce costs by properly scheduling to avoid penalties and usurious pay, while also maintaining proper staffing to meet customer demands and expectations.

Zuus Workforce is a worldwide resource for labor compliance and labor optimization for the retail, restaurant, hospitality, security, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. Have questions about how we can support you? Contact us today.

Further Reading on Predictive Scheduling Laws