It’s time to talk about every retail business owners’ favorite topic, labor compliance!

While it may not be as exciting of a topic as popular bar drinks, the reality is that the way you run your business may actually be a violation of the law and can lead to a number of very hefty fines. 

This is because of a line of labor compliance legislation referred to as Predictive Scheduling and/or Fair Workweek that’s currently sweeping the nation and pushing business owners to rethink their internal workflows. 

What exactly is Predictive Scheduling & Fair Workweek? 

Predictive scheduling & Fair Workweek laws aim to curb scheduling practices that negatively affect employees’ finances as well as their work-life balance.

For example, San Francisco’s Predictive Scheduling laws state that employers must provide new employees with a good faith estimate in writing stating the minimum number of scheduled shifts they can expect to receive as well as the time and days of those shifts. 

And while plenty of business owners would never do anything to purposely hurt their employees, the truth is that many commonly accepted business practices are actually detrimental to employees’ well-being.   

Cities and states with Predictive Scheduling laws 

Now that you have an understanding of what these laws are, let’s take a look to see if you’re in an area currently enforcing Predictive Scheduling laws. 

And even if the city or state you’re in may not be affected, these laws are springing up everywhere and you should take the initiative to get up to date before you’re caught in a time crunch. 

That said, take a look at a number of cities and states that have enacted their own set of Predictive Scheduling and/or Fair Workweek laws: 

  • San Francisco 
  • Emeryville
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago 
  • Washington DC 
  • New York City 
  • Oregon 
  • Seattle 

Your Predictive Scheduling and Fair Workweek compliance checklist

Now that you’re aware of the areas that have their own legislation, you’re ready to dive into our full compliance checklist. 

Keep in mind that while this checklist acts as a great starting point, you should still take the time to know and understand your areas’ own laws to ensure all of your bases are covered.

Are you sending out your employee schedules out 2 weeks in advance? 

Particular laws mandate that employees must receive their work schedules at least 2 weeks in advance of their shifts. If not, they’ll find themselves in some very big trouble. 

While the law asks employers to send schedules out in a timely manner, the reality is that creating schedules is a hassle for many business owners and adding a timeline to the task isn’t making anyone’s life easier. 

This is where workforce management software comes to the rescue by offering employers a quick and easy method for getting their employee schedules squared away. It also automates annoying tasks like tracking time and attendance as well as handling payroll.

How many employees and/or locations do you run?

Your answer to this is important because it may mean that you aren’t required to abide by your area’s laws. For example, Philadelphia Fair Workweek laws only affect businesses with 30 or more locations around the world with at least 250 employees in total. 

Do you have any shifts that may be considered a ‘Clopening shift’ 

A clopening shift is any shift where employees close a store at night and are expected to return the next morning to re-open the store. As you could imagine, this practice often results in the employee losing out on sleep and being tired.

Before you send out any finalized schedules, be sure to double-check for any shifts that may be deemed a clopening shift.

Did your employees put in their time off request in a reasonable time frame? 

Employers are required to pay employees a premium rate whenever they make themselves available for work or have to wait for their shifts to be confirmed. So if they gave ample time beforehand, try and make it work as best you can. 

Do your employees have an easy way to swap shifts with one another? 

An easy way for business owners to lessen the time they spend on employee schedules  (as well as their stress levels!) is by giving their employees an easy way to swap shifts with one another and message whomever they need to. 

And if you’d like to better your workplace communication, click here to learn more.  

Make sure to not make any changes to employee schedules outside of the accepted timeframe

When an employer makes the decision to change an employee’s schedule outside of the timeframe specified by the laws, the employer must pay the employee a special rate. So before finalizing that schedule change, make sure that it’s worth it. 

If you schedule someone for a shift, be sure that you actually need them to work the shift: 

If an employee were to show up for a shift only to find that it was canceled, the employer will have to pay them for a portion of the canceled shift. To ensure this doesn’t happen, work to correctly schedule the right number of people for each shift. 

Are your methods for recordkeeping efficient enough?  

Predictive Scheduling laws state that certain employers must maintain employee scheduling records spanning back at least two years, which will be really difficult if you’re using vanilla folders to store your information. 

But by implementing employee scheduling software, your business will have that information stored electronically for easy reference whenever you need it. 

Are your full-time workers and part-time workers treated any differently? 

Because if it’s found that certain people are getting special treatment that isn’t also being given to others, then you may find yourself in some hot water. 

Before moving forward, be sure to speak with any other managers or supervisors to ensure that full and part-time employees are being given the same level of respect and privileges. 

How many employees do you keep on-call? 

Many laws dictate that employers must pay employees a premium rate when they’re kept on-call and make themselves available to work. So while you may deem it necessary to keep certain people on-call for hard times, just be sure that the investment is worth it in the end. 

Are you providing employees with an accurate estimation of their work schedules before hiring? 

A good faith estimate is an estimation of the median hours that employees can be expected to work each and every week. This way, employees won’t be tricked into taking any roles that don’t provide the hours they’re looking for. 

Take some time to sit down and really understand the number of shifts your new employees can come to expect. Be sure to closely reference your current and past employee schedules for better insight. 

Get up to speed with all Predictive Scheduling and Fair Workweek regulations

These laws don’t have to be intimidating. As long as you follow the compliance checklist carefully and integrate workforce management software into your own workflows, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. 

Team Nowsta

Nowsta is the easiest way to schedule, manage, and pay hourly staff.