Employment Law This Week®: Predictive Scheduling Laws, the New Normal?Deep Dive Episode March 27, 2019
This Employment Law This Week Deep Dive episode looks at “predictive scheduling laws,” which are laws that require employers to publish employee work schedules a certain amount of time in advance so that employees (especially those in the hospitality and retail industries) can have greater flexibility and work-time predictability to deal with family and other events and responsibilities. Attorneys Jeffrey Landes, Jeffrey Ruzal, and Adriana Kosovych of Epstein Becker Green discuss the trend toward enacting predictive scheduling laws, the impact that these laws can have on business profitability and costs, and the strategies for compliance.
Read on for more about this episode:
1. Predictive Scheduling Laws, the New Normal?
Taking the guesswork out of scheduling for wage workers is an attractive proposition for regulators. Several cities and one state—Oregon—currently have predictive scheduling laws on the books, and the trend is growing, with proposed legislation in many jurisdictions across the country.
“This number is growing largely because there is a trend to protect employees in low-wage industries, and there is a concern about making sure that they have more predictable scheduling so that it does not disrupt their family life, and so that they can also have a steady stream of income.”
“It does appear that, at least for the time being, there has been a shift in the way regulators view hospitality and retail workers and the industries in which they operate.”
2. Impact on Profitability and Costs
“Employers in the hospitality industry will definitely be affected by predictive scheduling laws, because of the ebbs and flows of their business demands, which are largely controlled by their customer base. It’s also certainly difficult for hospitality employers to know between three and 14 days in advance, depending on the jurisdiction of the predictive scheduling law, of how many employees they will need for a particular shift, which can certainly have an impact on the business and the business’s profitability.”
“These types of laws are going to force retail employers to think strategically about their staffing model, and it may also result in having more full-time employees, which can, for employers, increase costs. They will be eligible for health care benefits; they may be eligible for other benefits, as well. Therefore, it can have a significant impact on retail employers.”
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3. Strategies for Compliance
“Hospitality employers should plan for predictive scheduling laws by addressing their policies and practices, training management so that they fully understand what is required, as well as thinking strategically about planning for their schedules for employees in the future to ensure full compliance.”
“Employers should also ensure that relevant personnel are familiar with all applicable minimum wage rates. And finally, employers should consider implementing a record-keeping system that will help demonstrate compliance if they are ever audited by the government agency that is going to be enforcing these laws.”
“Another significant challenge and concern for retail employers is the fact that these laws are being passed in a variety of cities and other jurisdictions, which forces you to pay more attention to compliance initiatives and means that employers may have to have different scheduling practices and different policies and procedures for retail employers in different jurisdictions.”
Stay tuned for further developments that may affect your business.
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