Predictive Scheduling and the Laws You Should Know

Business Management
Rea Regan May 30, 2021 7 min read

Quick Guide

    If you haven’t heard about predictive scheduling, you’re about to. Scheduling hourly employees doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether it’s a weekly or on-call shift, there hasn’t been much regulation for advanced scheduling. Workers find it hard to know how many hours they will be working, what pay they will receive, and it can affect their home life.  

    Many new labor laws have been introduced in the United States and if you aren’t aware of them then you might be slapped with a hefty fine. Essentially, these new predictive scheduling laws are built to give workers more predictability over their work schedules. We’re going to dive into what this law means, why it was enacted, how it affects you and how you can best prepare.

    What is Predictive Scheduling

    Predictive scheduling is when the employer provides their employees with their work schedule in advance. As an employer, you should ensure you understand the predictive scheduling laws that apply. However, depending on the state, the exact details differ, but the idea is generally the same. Even if you are not obliged to comply with the laws, it’s still good practice to implement them.

    • Employers must post the employee schedule in advance, somewhere between 7 to 14 days.
    • Extra pay must be given to employees if the employer changes the schedule after the posted schedule.
    • Employers must provide an adequate rest period between shifts (unless the employee voluntarily picks up a shift during a rest period). 
    • Employers must keep and maintain all records for a predetermined time pertaining to the schedule.

    Benefits of Predictive Scheduling for Employees

    Hospitality, retail and quick-service restaurants have been industries where on-call scheduling was just the norm. This mindset makes it incredibly difficult to anticipate pay, create a healthy work-life balance or to suggest how many hours they’ll work on a weekly basis. 

    On-call scheduling gave business owners flexibility, but only at the expense of predictable schedules. Only recently have predictive scheduling laws and regulations become more common, especially in the case of part-time jobs and minimum wage positions. 

    Predictive scheduling laws aim to curtail these challenges by giving employees their schedule in advance, banning on-call scheduling, or offering compensation when an on-call shift never comes to light.

    “Predictive scheduling laws give hourly employees fair opportunities and the ability to achieve an unprecedented work-life balance,” says Steven Power, global president of Deputy. “By knowing their schedule beforehand, employees have more control for how to plan their lives. This is especially necessary for workers with family and other ongoing commitments. Predictability leads to employee retention and can be a boon for talent recruitment.”

    States with Predictive Scheduling Laws

    States with predictive scheduling laws
    https://www.qsrmagazine.com/content/4-sets-predictive-scheduling-laws-you-need-know

    There is a mix of state-wide laws and local laws. Additionally, some states have outright prohibited the predictive scheduling law. 

    • Enacted: California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
    • Prohibited: Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, and Tennessee. 

    Many cities and states have begun to propose regulations surrounding predictive scheduling or are at least considering legislation that can create a predictive scheduling policy. For example, in San Francisco, employers must provide employees with their work schedules at least two weeks in advance and cannot change that schedule with less than seven days’ notice. Additionally, San Francisco requires on-call employees to be paid for two to four hours of a shift even if they weren’t called in. 

    Seattle requires schedules to be provided 14 days before and for compensation for schedule changes after a work schedule was posted. In New York City, employers must post schedules at least 72 hours prior and must schedule all retail employees for a minimum of 20 hours a week in every two-week period. 

    Benefits of Predictive Scheduling for Employers

    When a company has predictive scheduling, they offer compliance, help recruit and retain staff, reduce turnover, and lower training costs. “More predictable scheduling can also lead to happier, more engaged employees,” said Atif Siddiqi, founder and CEO of Branch. “Without the added concerns of an unpredictable schedule, employees are less likely to have stress that will impact their work productivity. This can lead to decreased turnover for employers as well, as the cost of replacing an hourly employee is about $2,500.”

    In addition, managers can more effectively and efficiently prepare and plan for highs and lows in business activity. 

    Implementing a Mobile Scheduling Software

    Manual scheduling just isn’t going to cut it. And hello, we are in the 21st century where the digital revolution has taken over virtually everything. Using an online scheduling software helps ease the burden of implementing a predictive schedule policy. 

    “Most scheduling software has the ability to auto-schedule, which ensures that the employer is meeting all of the laws across all locations,” said Power. “The online platform also enables employees to check and change their schedules from anywhere as well as pick up additional shifts if they’re eligible, which gives the employee more power and control over their schedule resulting in an overall happier and more productive workforce.”

    Solutions, like Connecteam, offer the whole package. In just a click, you can create single, multiple or team shifts, and you can upload a bulk with an Excel file. With calendar view, drag & drop options, and easily copying last week’s shifts, you save tons of time organizing and managing the employee schedule. Use GPS status updates for an in-depth visual job progress, and include location for quick navigation, notes with free text and file attachments for employee collaboration. 

    Easily set one-time or recurring shifts so your employees always know when they’re on the schedule. Plus, employees can accept or reject shifts and you’ll get an automated notification. Send an update to all employees about open shifts and allow them to claim shifts on their own; employees can swap shifts and you’ll receive an automatic update; and many more capabilities are offered on Connecteam.

    Save Time with Connecteam

    Connecteam’s employee schedule app is so easy to use. Schedule single, multiple, team shifts and so much more…

    Find out more

    Predictive Scheduling Isn’t a Fad 

    Predictive scheduling is affecting many businesses and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone needs structure in their life, it helps us achieve our goals as we know where we are heading.

    As predictive scheduling is being picked up in local and state law, it is not something businesses can avoid. There are a lot of benefits to adding it into your routine before it becomes mandatory. Employees with predictable schedules are far happier as they know what to expect. Work-life balance is improved as employees can plan for their future as they know their work timetable. Scheduling software can assist you in giving your employees the stability they need. It also helps you know when an employee is about to hit overtime and the laws that affect that. It’s a win-win situation. 

    It’s time to embrace predictive scheduling and to implement a software solution to streamline processes – all of which will lead to happier, more motivated employees, reduce turnover and create an efficient workflow. It’s much easier to implement than you think and could help your business in the long run. Take this great opportunity onboard and transform how you work.

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