Four Steps to Prepare for Predictive Scheduling Compliance

March 4, 2018

What are predictive scheduling or advanced scheduling laws?

According to one poll of HR professionals, state and local laws have become HR’s largest compliance worry. New predictive scheduling laws–also called advanced scheduling or restrictive scheduling—attempt to reduce the amount of scheduling uncertainty faced by employees at work. So far, the laws haven’t been enacted in many places, but much like the “Fight for $15” minimum wage push, the predictive scheduling movement is gaining momentum.

The law in each locality varies, but in general, these laws force employers to post schedules earlier and impose penalties when schedules are changed, usually by forcing the employer to pay the employee for additional hours beyond those worked. Many of these laws also limit or severely restrict the use of “on call” for employees.

The industries most impacted by predictive scheduling laws are those that need flexibility in order to staff for changing levels of customer demand. These include service industries such as restaurants and fast food, as well as retail stores.

Where have these laws been implemented?

So far, only a few localities and one state have passed predictive scheduling laws:

  • San Francisco, CA – July 2015
  • Emeryville, CA – July 2017
  • Seattle, WA – July 2017
  • San Jose, CA –
  • New York, NY – November 2017
  • State of Oregon – July 2018
  • Washington D.C. – 2016 (for building services employees only)

Additionally, several states and municipalities are considering legislation, including: Arizona, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Ohio. In an opposite move, Georgia is the only state to have passed legislation prohibiting municipalities from passing any law that requires predictability pay.

What have been the real-world experiences of employers so far?

So far, the new laws have reduced flexibility for both employers and employees. For example, if an employer calls an employee into work on short notice in San Francisco, the employer must pay for an additional 2-4 hours. Employers avoid doing this, so customer experience suffers with poorly stocked shelves and long checkout lines on unexpectedly busy days.

A recent study found that in San Francisco:

  • 35% of employers are now less flexible with employee schedules
  • 21% of businesses are offering fewer part time shifts
  • 4% are pursuing self-service automation as an alternative to hiring employees

Regardless of the real-world results, employers must prepare for the possibility of a restrictive scheduling impact to their business operations.

Four steps to get ready for predictive scheduling compliance

 

  1. Gather the facts.

    First, you’ll need to figure out which jurisdictions your company operates in have enacted (or are proposing) restrictive scheduling rules. For each law that your business will have to comply with, gather the following information:

    • Does the law apply to your industry?
    • Do you employ enough workers to have to comply with the law?
    • Which employees are included? Which are exempt?
    • How much notice to an employee is required to make a schedule change?
    • If you fail to provide that much notice, what is the penalty?
    • Is “on-call” still allowed?
    • Can you ask for volunteers to add a shift without penalty? Can employees “swap shifts”?
    • Under what circumstances can you cancel a shift without penalty?
    • What records must be kept and for how long?

 

  1. Create a written policy.

    The policy should identify the employees’ rights under the new law and lay out the process by which employee schedules will be created, distributed, and amended.

 

  1. Train managers who schedule employees.

    Managers must understand the ramifications of the law and the company’s policy for complying with it. Train managers before the law goes into effect and practise with them, so your organisation can iron out any compliance challenges early.

 

  1. Review time and attendance, scheduling, and payroll systems.

    Complying with predictive scheduling laws will require your organisation to change the way it produces, posts, and changes employee schedules. You’ll need rock-solid scheduling records, as well as a time and attendance system that will produce and preserve the data needed to prove compliance between the schedule posted and the hours actually worked. Advanced scheduling laws often contain a penalty provision of additional hours paid to employees for last-minute changes. You’ll need to make sure that your payroll system can award the extra hours, and also ensure that there is a smooth exchange of information between scheduling, time and attendance, and payroll.

 

Asure Software’s Human Resource Management solutions can help your organisation track and report on time and attendance so you can more easily comply with new predictive scheduling laws.