New York City is the latest U.S. city to pass a series of predictive scheduling laws, a move that will bolster fast food employee rights in the workplace and could have serious impacts on business owners.
On May 30, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the Fair Work Week Legislation package, four laws that will affect as many as 65,000 fast food workers by giving them more predictable schedules. The legislation will take effect in six months. Advocates argue that the laws will ensure employees can work enough hours to support their families and help them avoid disruptive last-minute shift changes.
“Predictable schedules and predictable paychecks should be a right, not a privilege,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Business Impacts
New York City’s Fair Work Week laws will require employers to:
- Provide employees their work schedules at least 14 days in advance. If changes are made to those schedules inside of that two-week window, employers will need to pay employees $10 to $75 per change, depending on the situation.
- Stop scheduling back-to-back shifts. Workers must have at least 11 hours off in between shifts, and if they’re needed to clock back in sooner, employers will have to pay that person another $100.
- Offer open shifts to existing staff before hiring anybody new. Chains will only be able to hire additional employees once current workers have been given the chance to turn down any available hours.
The legislation also gives workers the chance to deduct a portion of their paychecks and donate directly to worker-advocacy non-profits, earmarking money for groups that will fight on their behalf. This particular law is the first of its kind in the U.S.
“These men and women are hard workers, but they also have a right to be devoted parents who can plan for childcare or further their education without worrying they will be called into work unexpectedly,” said New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
The Big Apple joins Seattle and San Francisco as the newest (and largest) kid on the predictive scheduling playground. In recent years, lawmakers across the country have been pushing to improve the lives and working conditions of fast-food and retail employees through laws that will make their schedules more predictable.
How To Prepare
These New York City laws represent a huge win for that fight and send a clear signal to business owners — the predictive scheduling trend isn’t just a fad. Employee rights groups are involved, they’re passionate, and lawmakers are noticing.
“Tens of thousands of working parents and students in New York will now have the flexibility they need to balance their responsibilities on and off the job,” Elianne Farhat, Campaign Director for the Fair Workweek Initiative at Center for Popular Democracy, said in a statement. “We know this vote will inspire other cities to act and other workers to stand up for the same commonsense standards. It’s clear that the movement for a fair workweek is catching fire and we only expect it to grow.”
And if the movement grows, what does that mean for your business? For starters, you need to use the right tools to help your management teams keep track of schedules, plus retain all of the records the law requires.
When choosing a staff scheduling partner, look for one that gives your employees mobile/online control of their schedules, letting them:
- Make shift changes and swaps in an instant, right from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Managers still keep approval rights of swaps, requests and availability notifications.
- Submit time-off requests and their weekly, monthly or annual availabilities. That way, if employees can’t work because they have class or another part-time job, that’s built into the system.
Within the HotSchedules system, every shift swap, denial and schedule gets communicated to employees, becoming a documented, trackable moment with inherent consent about each shift transaction. That data is then archived for retrieval and accessible at any time.