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New York City’s Fair Workweek Laws Now in Effect

New York City’s “Fair Workweek” legislation, a package of laws that will fundamentally change the way fast food and retail businesses schedule employees, is here. After hearing and reading about it for months, the time has come: as of Nov. 26, the laws are now in effect. And if you’re a fast food operator with […]

New York City’s “Fair Workweek” legislation, a package of laws that will fundamentally change the way fast food and retail businesses schedule employees, is here. After hearing and reading about it for months, the time has come: as of Nov. 26, the laws are now in effect.

And if you’re a fast food operator with 30 or more locations nationally, you need to ask yourself one question — is my business prepared to handle these new compliance regulations? Because if the answer is “no” and you manage these new requirements improperly, it could cost your business serious money.

The Fair Workweek package, which is expected to affect more than 65,000 fast food employees, is designed to give these employees more stability in their work schedules, so they can maintain a healthy work-life balance. Unpredictable scheduling practices — last-minute shift changes can affect an employee’s income, transportation, childcare arrangements and more.

NYC Fair Workweek Requirements

The NYC Fair Workweek legislation maintains that fast food employers must:

  • Give employees written notice of schedules no less than 14 days in advance. (Changes within two weeks will incur payment of $10 to $75 to the employee, depending on the situation.)
  • Stop “clopenings” — employees must have 11 hours off between shifts. (If an employee works sooner than 11 hours after their last shift, they will be paid an extra $100.)
  • Give current employees the option to take new shifts before hiring any new employees. This will allow existing employees the option to move from part-time to full-time employment or give them the additional hours they want.
  • Allow employees to deduct part of their salary for donation to a nonprofit by payroll deduction.
  • Maintain compliance records for 3 years.
  • Not retaliate in any way towards employees for exercising their rights under these new laws.

Failure to comply with these mandates could be costly for business — the Fair Workweek regulations mandate that fast food establishments could face penalties of $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second violation and up to $1,000 penalties for each succeeding violation. Add premium pay on top of those fines, and you’re looking at a healthy chunk of change.

So, how can restaurateurs maintain compliance with these new laws in order to maintain regular operations? One way is to work with a technology partner who can provide configurable labor and scheduling tools that help restaurants manage compliance, and reduce penalties and potential class-action lawsuits.

HotSchedules recently announced the release of new enhanced predictive scheduling features for restaurants that could help operators handle the implementation of Fair Workweek requirements. These new features – available with HotSchedules’ new cloud-based intelligent back office platform, Clarifi™ and available for current HotSchedules customers – address the unique scheduling challenges with configurable labor rules, manager alerts to potential compliance violations, shift transaction reporting and continuous electronic documentation.

Here are a few things to think about:

11 Tips to Help Manage Predictive Scheduling and Documentation Compliance

  • Educate the people who make your restaurant schedules — your managers.
  • Be able to create and communicate schedules 14 days in advance of shifts.
  • Explore tools to give employees “right to request input into the work schedules.”
  • Be able to submit availability & time-off requests.
  • Be able to find replacement coverage & proof of picking up voluntary hours.
  • Documentation of manager approval/denial with reason and date/time.
  • Documentation or consent from employees around certain shift transactions.
  • At a minimum, three years of archived, documented shift transaction and other documentation related to employee schedules (ex: disciplinary reasons for not providing additional hours.)
  • Be able to provide schedules and related shift transactions in English and the employee’s primary language.
  • Remove “on-call” or “call-in” shifts from your scheduling practices.
  • Choose the right technology partner.

The right technology partner can make all the difference; one that provides configurable labor and scheduling tools that help restaurants manage compliance while reducing penalties and potential class-action lawsuits.

The Fair Workweek laws are complex, yes, but with they’re also manageable. You just need the right tools in place to be prepared.


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