Blog / October 9, 2018
New fair work schedule laws raise table stakes for restaurateurs, are you still in the game?
A wave of new legislation is sweeping across the United States regulating restaurant scheduling practices and introducing hefty fines for violations. From New York City to San Francisco and municipalities in between, these new fair work schedule laws are forcing restaurants to crack down on when and how they schedule staff–and enforcing legal accountability. For unprepared restaurateurs these legislation changes are already becoming a huge headache–but restaurants able to handle the changes are rapidly gaining a leg up on their competition. In this article we’re giving you the scoop on:
- What predictive scheduling is
- The benefits of predictive scheduling
- How new fair work schedule laws affect restaurants
- How cloud-based apps can help restaurateurs comply with these new regulations
What is predictive scheduling?Predictive scheduling laws require employers to give their employees their work schedules well in advance of their shifts, as well as afford them protections from unfair work practices. Also known as fair scheduling, predictable scheduling, restrictive scheduling, and secure scheduling, these hospitality and restaurant laws require employers in the industry to pay fines for changing work schedules after a certain time period. In addition to requiring employers to give their employees advance notice of their schedules, predictive scheduling laws also include provisions for predictable pay and fair treatment of employees.
Benefits of predictive schedulingOn average, restaurants currently give their employees only 2.44 days advance notice of their weekly work schedules. For low wage hourly workers, unpredictable schedules make it difficult to schedule other obligations (like second jobs or child care) and cause a lot of stress. While predictive scheduling laws may take some getting used to for restaurateurs, they are ultimately beneficial to both restaurateurs and their employees. Predictive scheduling lets restaurant workers enjoy a better work/life balance, which in turn makes them happier, more productive employees. Ultimately, fair work schedule laws help reduce staff turnover and create happy, loyal customers.
How new fair work schedule laws affect restaurantsWhile some US states and cities are only talking about creating predictive scheduling legislation, it’s already a reality in some municipalities. The following are commonalities in fair work schedule laws cross the country, paired with solutions for making compliance easy. Keep in mind that these are just generalizations. Check your area’s labor laws on schedule changes for the most accurate and specific regulations.
Advance noticeThe cornerstone of predictive scheduling is giving restaurant workers advance notice of their work schedules. Fair work schedule regulations require employers to give their employees their work schedules by a certain time. So when should work schedules be posted? Exact timing varies by municipality, so some areas requires as much as two weeks advance notice of work schedules, while others require as little as 72 hours notice prior to the shift. Can employers change schedules without notice under the new predictive scheduling restaurant laws? Yes, but generally if they do so after the shift change window, they owe their workers a schedule change premium. Moreover, while most municipalities that have adopted predictive scheduling laws don’t allow on-call scheduling, some areas allow it if employees elect to participate in it. In this case, the employer owes their on-call employees a minimum number of hours of work, or premium pay.
How restaurant employee scheduling software can help:A good employee scheduling platform enables you to quickly create schedules and notify your employees about them via text, email, or mobile app. Look for platforms with auto-scheduling or custom shift templates which can automate the process for you while making it easy to make changes within your municipality’s shift change window to avoid fines. An employee scheduling tool like 7shifts can reduce the time you spend scheduling your restaurant’s employees by 80%. It enables employees to accept and reject shifts in real time through free mobile apps, making it easy for you to adjust schedules in a timely manner.
Predictable payIn addition to requiring employers to give their employees advance notice of their work schedules, predictive scheduling restaurant laws also enforce predictable pay measures, which help employees forecast their income. In general, predictable pay regulations require employers to:
- Give new employees advance notice of minimum hours they can expect to work before hiring them.
- Compensate employees for last minute shift cancellations. Compensation can vary from a fraction of the employee’s shift to full compensation. While the definition of “last minute” varies by municipality, it generally means within 24 hours before the shift.
- Provide employees with extra compensation if they work split shifts, two shifts in one day with a large time gap between shifts.