Predictive Scheduling and the Workplace

Predictive Scheduling and the Workplace 2560 2445 Balance Point Team

Add a shift or lose your job

Sadly, many workers are faced with this dilemma on a regular basis due to unpredictable scheduling practices.

On-call, just-in-time, or tentative scheduling means that an employee could be called to work a shift, or asked to stay late, without adequate notice. Most commonly used in the retail, food service, restaurant, and hospitality industries, these practices are desirable to many employers, but take a toll on workers who must juggle the demands of their personal life and an erratic work schedule.

A large percentage of the workforce is affected. According to a recent study of nearly 30,000 hourly workers in large U.S. retail and food service chains (known as the “Shift Project”), 63% of respondents received less than two weeks’ notice of their work schedules.

An End to America’s Scheduling Crisis

The Fair Workweek initiative seeks to put an end to these practices and what they have labeled “America’s scheduling crisis.” Across the country, predictive scheduling laws are being passed as a result of the Fair Workweek movement. Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Emeryville, New York City, Seattle, Washington D.C., and the state of Oregon have passed laws that are, or soon will, take effect.

Laws vary by jurisdiction, but generally include:

  • Schedules must be posted before the first scheduled shift (generally 7-14 days)
  • Extra pay must be provided to workers if an employer changes the schedule after it is posted, what is known as “predictability pay”
  • Employees need adequate time off between shifts unless the employee volunteers to work during the rest period
  • Employers must keep scheduling records for a certain time period

New Jersey may soon join Oregon in having a statewide predictive scheduling law if a bill introduced in January 2020 is passed. The Bill would require that employers with 250 or more employees worldwide post work schedules at least 14 days before the first day of the new schedule. Most, but not all, schedule changes would require predictability pay.

The Impact of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus crisis has had an impact on many employment laws, including those related to predictive scheduling. The industries these laws affect are among the hardest hit sectors of the pandemic.

The crisis delayed some laws from becoming enacted, including those in Philadelphia and Chicago. It has also affected the enforcement of these laws. While some contained an exception for threats, natural disasters, and pandemics, others were up for interpretation. 

It is uncertain if new laws will continue with the same momentum as they did pre-pandemic.

Technology Eases Fair Scheduling Requirements

Workforce management technology helps organizations create predictable, balanced schedules. Robust shift and scheduling features, like Balance Point’s Scheduling, will become important as employers need shift tracking functionality to comply with these laws. 

The technology behind this feature helps employers draft and post schedules, receive notifications of change requests, with the ability to approve or reject. Workers are notified of schedule changes, can adjust their availability, pick up or swap shifts.

To learn more about Scheduling, schedule an appointment with a Balance Point HCM Consultant

HCM Fundamentals—Download the Guide 

Tracking employee time and processing payroll are essential business functions. They ensure that employees remain engaged and your organization remains compliant. The process is complex and time-consuming, but it’s imperative you get it right. Learn how in our guide, HCM Fundamentals: Payroll and Time & Attendance Solutions.

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