Improve Employee Scheduling to Fast Track Business Recovery: The Comprehensive Guide

employee scheduling

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, CloserIQ, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Updated May 25, 2020.

Have you evaluated your employee scheduling processes lately? Poor scheduling hampers profitability and growth. It also decreases customer and employee satisfaction.

Retool, Retrench, and Rebuild Framework

Companies that initiated work from home policies during the coronavirus lockdown are bringing teams back to the office in phases. This has made employee scheduling more complicated. Employee scheduling software can help managers create schedules that benefit both employees and customers. Using best practices for employee scheduling is essential for business recovery and post-pandemic success.


Small Business Employee Scheduling

Table of Contents

  1. The Benefits of Effective Employee Scheduling
  2. How To Do Employee Scheduling Like a Pro
  3. Flexible Schedules: An Employee Perk That Helps Businesses Compete
  4. A Beginner’s Guide to Schedule Forecasting
  5. 13 Signs Your Employee Scheduling Needs Fixing
  6. How Does Employee Scheduling Software Work?
  7. What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Predictive Scheduling Laws

1. The Benefits of Effective Employee Scheduling

What are the main benefits of effective employee scheduling?

  • Schedules ensure quality customer service.
  • Schedules ensure profitability.
  • Schedules help maintain high employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Schedules comply with all applicable labor laws.

Now, let’s dive into our ultimate guide. First, we’ll discuss best practices for creating employee schedules.

2. How To Do Employee Scheduling Like a Pro

Schedule building is a skill. You can become better at it. Here are 7 employee scheduling tips to improve your schedule-building prowess.

1. Use Scheduling Software for Employee Scheduling

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have—you need the right tool for the job.

Scheduling software helps you make efficient schedules. And you can do it quickly with built-in templates. Customizable scheduling rules prevent coverage gaps or overstaffing.

Employee profiles guide your scheduling. The system alerts you to scheduling conflicts. It will ensure that you have employees with the necessary qualifications for each shift. Good scheduling software allows one manager to create schedules for many locations, teams, or projects.

2. Create Schedules Several Weeks (or Months) in Advance

Unless you are a start-up, you understand the staffing needs of your company. They may vary with the season and production demands. Some employers argue that ‘just-in-time’ scheduling is more efficient. They require employees to be on call in case they are needed at the last minute. This practice does more harm than good. Employers who require on-call shifts end up with frustrated employees.

Unpredictable schedules are responsible for high employee turnover. Create schedules as far in advance as possible. Make sure your employees understand that there may be last-minute changes. Most employees, however, won’t be affected. Studies have shown that there is far less schedule unpredictability than business owners realize. Employee scheduling software allows you to make standard schedules and copy forward. You can adjust them as needed, but you will find that they are fairly stable.

3. Understand Your Employees’ Needs and Wants

Ideally, this should begin with the first interview. Find out when an employee is available and how many hours they want to work. Availability and shift preferences should be important factors in the hiring decisions. Unless there is a severe labor shortage in your area, you should be able to hire people who want a variety of schedules.

Take some time to put the shift preferences puzzle pieces together. As mentioned previously, use the employee profiles tool in your scheduling software. Enter every piece of information about each employee—even if you don’t think it’s necessary. Update as needed. You only need to enter this information one time but you will reap the benefits every time you build a schedule.

4. Think Outside the Box

Don’t assume that ‘because it’s always been done this way’ is an excuse for failing to innovate. If you’ve never experimented with creative scheduling it’s probably because you use spreadsheets. If the busiest times during the day are mornings and afternoons, some of your employees might want a ‘midday workout’ schedule.

This is for people who like to exercise longer than a standard lunch break—or do errands when it’s not rush hour. Seek volunteers to take three hours off around lunchtime. You will meet staffing demands and not pay for unnecessary labor hours when it’s not busy.

Some full-time employees might prefer working four 10-hour shifts during the week. Line those up with your busiest days and the employees will have two extra hours to catch up on days they really need it.

5. Simplify Shift Trading With an Online Trade Board

Many managers are afraid of loosening up shift trading policies. They worry about short-handed shifts. They worry about miscommunication leading to no-shows. They worry about the balance of new and experienced employees on a shift.

Employee scheduling software with an online trade board has been a boon to many companies. If you set shift rules in your employee scheduling software, it will prevent the problems mentioned previously. An online trade board works great for businesses with a lot of part-time employees and many short shifts. The employees handle their own trades per manager approval.

Employees are able to post a shift on the board when they have an unexpected conflict. Employees who want more hours can snap up more shifts. Schedule control is a valuable perk. Employees stay with companies that support their work/life balance.

6. Create an Absence Management Plan

An absence management plan is a set of policies that manage time off. It addresses planned time off like vacations and family leave. It also addresses unplanned absences like sick time. When employees follow the proper protocols, there is less impact on productivity and workflows.

Employee scheduling software analytics help managers identify chronic absences. The manager can then work with the employee(s) to address the problem.

7. Cross-Train for Increased Flexibility

When you hire a new employee, be open about the fact that servers have to bus tables once in a while and prep cooks have to wash dishes. The entry-level team members will be eager to expand their job skills and your staff will be better able to respond to shifting customer levels on the fly.

3. Flexible Schedules: An Employee Perk That Helps Small Businesses Compete

Small business owners who don’t offer flexible schedules probably don’t realize why they are so important. Of course, employees want more freedom. But there are also significant advantages for owners. In fact, employer benefits may outweigh those for the staff.

A key advantage is helping small businesses compete with larger companies. Here are some of the ways flexible schedules make small businesses more competitive:

  • Lower overhead helps businesses run leaner
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Increases productivity
  • Expanded hiring pool allows companies to find the best workers
  • Engaged employees drive business growth
  • A supportive work environment helps retain experienced employees
  • Flexible scheduling reduces labor costs

Alternative schedules have increased with the gig economy. Companies hire freelancers and contractors for temporary stints. Ideally, professionals choose projects that interest them for which they are qualified. Businesses have more flexibility in finding the best person for the task at hand.

Technology has enabled this type of employment. And technology is essential for companies that want to offer alternative working arrangements.

With employee scheduling software, any type of business can offer non-traditional work schedules. It doesn’t have to cost more. It may even reduce labor expenses or keep them stable as a company grows.

Most of us multi-task whether we are on the clock or not. We answer work emails on our phone while standing in line at the grocery store. Though we may not like to admit it, we also take care of personal business at work.

Employers can fight this new reality or embrace it with flexible schedules. People who maintain a fluid relationship with work life and personal life can be more effective in both arenas.

Millennials now make up the largest demographic in the labor force. Some—especially those who work in a tech field—have come to expect flexible working arrangements. An employer who is trying to attract millennial workers should address this expectation.

Employee burnout is an issue for many industries, especially healthcare. When employees have more control of their shifts, they are less likely to suffer psychological stress. Workers with improved mental health are more effective and make fewer mistakes.

Employers who don’t offer anything besides standard shifts would be wise to explore the possibilities. Most businesses could re-structure their scheduling without a loss in productivity.

Let’s address some of the different types of non-traditional work schedules and benefits.


Employees who telecommute work outside of the main office. This could be at home, a shared workspace, or any other remote location.

Depending on the type of business, a telecommuter may have set hours or complete freedom. Most have a combination. For example, a software developer may be required to attend a virtual team meeting once a week. When working solo, however, they can choose their own hours.

Telecommuting enlarges the hiring pool for companies. They are not limited to job seekers in a relatively small geographic area. When an employer can hire anyone in the world, they can find the candidate with the perfect combination of skills.

Diversity in any form is good for companies. It brings new ideas to help the company grow and expand their menu of products and services. It provides fresh insight to solve problems and improve processes.

Companies who employ telecommuters have lower overhead. Many companies do just fine without a central office. Some entrepreneurs who started with virtual offices have overtaken competitors with traditional workplaces. Many credit their internet-based structure as a factor in their success.

Telecommuters can be highly engaged and extremely effective. Employee scheduling software helps employers track hours and productivity for telecommuters. This helps them weed out employees for whom telecommuting is not a good fit.

Self-Service Employee Scheduling

Employees choose their schedules subject to company policies. There may be core times they are required to work or a minimum number of hours expected.

Many people would accept a lower paying job if they could choose their own hours. They could end up with more money in the long run. It might allow a part-timer to take on another part-time job. It can help parents stagger their hours to reduce or eliminate the cost of daycare.

Fixed Rotating Shifts

This type of scheduling is most common in manufacturing, food and beverage, and healthcare. Employees have a mix of shifts. This could include, days, evenings, and swing shifts. It could also mean alternating days worked on a predictable basis.

Companies who spread the less-desirable shifts among employees tend to have a happier workforce. This is especially true for workers who receive tips. Employees who miss out on the most lucrative shifts will look elsewhere for more equitable scheduling policies. Employee scheduling software allows managers to create complicated rotating schedules for large workforces.

Compressed Work Week

Someone who works ‘four tens’ has a compressed work week. Four 10-hour shifts squeeze a 40-hour work week into four days. Employees appreciate a three-day weekend every single week!

Non-traditional schedules have benefits for non-profit entities as well. A compressed work week has been adopted by several cities to reduce costs. Many have reported improved employee engagement and reduced absenteeism.

Job Sharing

A job share arrangement is where two (or more) people perform a job traditionally held by one employee. Job sharing is not as common as other types of alternative scheduling. However, it is used successfully in the public and private sector.

Unlimited Time Off

Though this is not technically a ‘schedule’ it increases workplace flexibility and provides many of the same benefits. Unlimited PTO policies are gaining traction throughout the country. U.S. workers take less vacation time than many of their counterparts around the world. Some people believe this has contributed to a highly-stressed, unhealthy workforce.

Many employers have adopted unlimited PTO to encourage their workers to take more vacation time. Surprisingly, these policies don’t always result in employees taking more time off.

But employers win either way. When workers take more vacation, they are more engaged and productive. Plus, a placebo effect increases morale for everyone—regardless of whether they take more vacations.

Are you constantly putting out scheduling fires? Would you like to improve your labor force planning? Employee scheduling can become a strategic tool for business growth. Instead of a relentless, unpleasant chore that occupies too much time and energy.

But you won’t be able to do it with spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are passive and just barely a step above pen and paper scheduling. You need employee scheduling software. Labor forecasting allows you to schedule as strategically as professional business data analysts employed by large corporations.

4. A Beginner’s Guide to Schedule Forecasting

Now that you know scheduling best practices, let’s take it to another level. Small businesses can use data like organizations with large data analysis departments.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Choose Your Schedule Forecasting System

Before you can use analytics, you need to choose a schedule forecasting system. The most important tool is the schedule builder. If it’s not intuitive and user-friendly, move on. The goal is to match best-fit employees to shifts in a systematic way.

Schedule templates let you drag and drop employees into shifts. The software should offer multiple overviews such as day, week, and month. Duplicate schedules and copy them forward with a couple clicks. Compare schedules for several teams or locations at once.

Employee profiles let you enter detailed information. This includes skills, training, availability, and license expiration dates. Personalization makes it easy to match workers with appropriate job roles and shifts. It also helps managers assemble effective teams and assign projects.

2. Customize Your Schedule Forecasting System

When you have chosen your software, now it’s time to customize it. Don’t neglect this step. It is critical. Take the time you need to enter every bit of information possible. This includes staffing needs per shift, business hours, and employee availability. Plus certification requirements and job codes for client or project billing.

Compliance settings protect you from labor violations. Enter rules for Predictive Scheduling, overtime, meals and breaks, and union contracts. If you manage a long-term care facility, find a system with Payroll Based Journal tools.

Don’t worry about getting everything perfect the first time. You can change your settings as often as you need to.

3. Enter Key Performance Indicators

Now you enter business metrics. These will vary depending on your type of business. For a retail store, it could be sales volume or store visitors. A manufacturer would enter production data, demand estimates, or cost of goods sold. A customer service center could use call volume or service tickets resolved.

Enter sales to employee ratios and other contrasting metrics. Your software provider can help you with this critical step. Again, if conditions change, you can always update any this information.

System integration expands forecasting capability and ease of customization. For example, SwipeClock scheduling software allows you to import data from hundreds of other Human Resources applications.

4. Forecast Staffing Needs

Now the labor forecasting magic happens. The software compiles a goldmine of workforce data. It applies algorithms based on your KPIs to determine precise staffing demands. It shows how to increase profitability by modifying labor variables. This could be shift length, team makeup, or project assignments.

Determine which shifts need more workers. Monitor seasonal staffing trends contrasted with revenue, operating costs, or the number of clients. You will know whether to hire more employees or give current part-time employees more hours.

Powerful Labor Forecasting Software is Now Affordable

Sophisticated labor forecasting software is now affordable for small businesses. Data-driven scheduling provides a competitive edge. Optimization increases profitability and helps your business expand and diversify. It improves operational efficiency and eliminates waste. It helps your teams work smarter instead of harder.

Labor forecasting has benefits for established businesses as well as start-ups. With modern schedule software, you don’t need a data analyst degree to forecast labor needs.

What Could Advanced Labor Force Planning Mean For Your Business?

If you have a restaurant, you might be able to open a new location this year. If you run a construction company, you could take on more projects. If you provide business services, you could accommodate more clients. If you manage a healthcare facility, you could lower operating costs by reducing overtime.

A recreational product manufacturer used labor forecasting to grow from eight employees to more than 70 in less than a year. During this explosive growth, the company didn’t need to expand their admin staff. They also appreciated the reduction in paycheck errors. And the seamless integration with their payroll system.

Give Your Supervisors Smart Tools for Proactive Management

Powerful scheduling tools ease the administrative burden on managers. It lets them schedule employees proactively instead of reactively. They can focus on productivity and employee engagement instead of the mechanics of creating schedules.

Happier Employees Can Transform Your Workplace Culture

The benefits of labor forecasting aren’t limited to the bottom line. Improved labor forecasting allows businesses to support their employees’ work/life balance. For some companies, this is a game changer. It improves employee morale and lowers turnover. It establishes the company’s reputation as a forward-thinking employer of choice in their labor market.

5. 13 Signs Your Employee Scheduling is Broken

Is your employee scheduling broken? Here are 13 red flags that may indicate that your employee scheduling is causing problems in your organization.

1. Your Scheduling Strategy Hasn’t Changed In Years

If your managers are using the same strategies they used ten years ago, there is probably room for improvement. Business operations have probably changed dramatically in that time. Depending on your industry, you have no doubt adopted technology that has impacted processes. You have probably introduced new products or services. You may have expanded your business to multiple locations. These types of changes impact staffing needs.

2. Your Employees Are Frustrated

If your employees are frustrated, find out if it has to do with shift schedules. Inflexible scheduling is hard on employees. So is variable scheduling. Employees also hate it when schedules aren’t posted in advance. With these practices, they can’t balance their work and personal responsibilities. Schedule confusion also causes problems. If they can’t see their schedule from their phone, you are failing to take advantage of inexpensive cloud-based time and attendance software.

3. You Have Shift Coverage Gaps

Frequent short-staffing may seem an obvious result of poor scheduling—but many managers blame it on other factors. Short staffing has many ripple effects. It should be avoided at all costs. With spreadsheet scheduling, it’s difficult to get a handle on this problem.

4. You Have a Lack of Employee Involvement

If your employees aren’t involved in time and attendance and scheduling to some degree, your managers are working too hard. Especially if they are using spreadsheets instead of scheduling software. Allowing employees to relieve some of the scheduling burden is easy with employee scheduling software.

5. You Have Increasing Absenteeism

If your absenteeism has been trending upward, you need to figure out why. Talk to your employees and managers. Better scheduling could turn this problem around before it does any more damage. Automated time and attendance systems help you track and manage employee absences.

6. You Have High Employee Turnover

The unemployment rate has increased for some businesses affected by the lockdown. For essential businesses–like healthcare and manufacturing–the lack of qualified workers is a serious problem. Some manufacturers are hiring ex-convicts and even current prisoners who qualify for work-release programs. Workers with limited English skills are landing jobs previously unattainable.

Employee scheduling can have a significant impact on turnover. If you have part-time, hourly employees, it’s more important than ever to accommodate your employees’ schedule preferences as much as possible. Giving employees more control over their schedules has lowered turnover for many companies.

7. You Have Difficulty Filling Open Positions

Word gets around. Especially in smaller communities. If your company is known for bad employee scheduling practices, you will only attract the most desperate candidates. Employees care about wage levels, health benefits, and workplace culture.

After health insurance, a flexible schedule is the most-valued benefit for employees. Some employers have distinguished themselves by offering more vacation time or other scheduling perks. When trying to compete with a shrinking pool of candidates, you can only raise wages so far and remain profitable. You can, however, offer more attractive schedules. Employee scheduling software can make employee-friendly scheduling easy. If you want to improve your hiring, improve your scheduling.

8. Excessive Unplanned Overtime

Planned overtime can save money if managed wisely. We’re talking about unexpected overtime. If you frequently ask employees to stay after their shift ends, you aren’t forecasting staffing requirements. Maybe you don’t realize how often it happens. Employee scheduling software can provide analytics and tools for better forecasting.

9. You Frequently Hire Last-Minute Temps

As with overtime, the use of temp workers can save on labor costs. But when they are used at the last minute as a stop-gap measure, it points to poor employee scheduling.

10. You Have Increasing Customer Complaints

Has the number of customer complaints increased? It may be due to staffing problems. Understaffing or employee misallocation can affect service levels. Savvy business owners respond quickly to solve service problems early.

11. You Miss Production Deadlines

If you can’t trace it to a non-employee issue (such as a materials shortage), frequently missed deadlines could be due to understaffed shifts. Time and attendance software can help you know when it’s time to hire more staff. It can also help you better optimize your current workforce.

12. You Have Decreasing Productivity

If your productivity is trending downward, look at your scheduling. If you don’t know how productivity and scheduling are related—see number 13.

13. You Don’t Use Employee Scheduling Analytics

If you don’t have a way to look at scheduling effects over time, you are at a serious disadvantage. The importance of workforce management analytics can’t be overstated.

6. How Does Employee Scheduling Software Work?

Running a business and managing staff members is no small task and it can become challenging to make sure that your company is running smoothly 24/7.

Employee scheduling software simplifies an essential task—scheduling employees for shifts.

How does it work?

First, you enter your employees in the system. Create a profile for each employee.

Your scheduling software should sync with your time and attendance system. This allows you to take advantage of all of the features.

In your employee profile, include:

  • Contact information
  • Shift availability
  • Shift preferences
  • Maximum hours
  • Full- or part-time status
  • Job role
  • Certifications
  • Team or department

Schedule Rules Rule

The rules you enter into your scheduling software will depend on your industry, business size, and employee demographics.

Let’s look at possible scheduling rules:

  1. Maximum and minimum shift lengths
  2. Number of employees per shift
  3. Scheduled and unscheduled employee absences
  4. Multiple locations
  5. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements
  6. Predictive scheduling laws
  7. Payroll Based Journal (for long-term healthcare facilities)

Create shift rules. For example, how many employees do you need? What certifications are required for every shift? Do you have employees that work multiple locations? Set alerts so you can’t double book employees.

Start Scheduling

You start with a calendar. This is where you will create your schedule(s). Graphical interfaces color code employees, shifts, and locations. Super easy.

  • Create schedule templates with high-level detail
  • Drag and drop employees into shifts where you want them
  • Copy schedules forward from week to week
  • View multiple schedules at once
  • Compare schedules by location, team, job site, or project phase

What Are The Advantages of Employee Scheduling Software?

Here are 9 advantages of using employee scheduling software:

  1. Predict staffing needs through intuitive intelligence. Historical data rolls into forecasting trends.
  2. Avoid understaffing through employee skills and education based scheduling. This ensures you have the right employees filling the right positions based on training, education, certification or skill level.
  3. Avoid overstaffing through alerts that inform you when employees have been scheduled for overtime.
  4. Alerts notify you when employees have reached their FMLA reduced schedule hours, are scheduled for days they need off, or have other restrictions.
  5. Automatic suggestions provide alternatives for specific shifts so that you can quickly see who can fill in when an employee calls in or requests a specific day off.
  6. Mobile notification allows you to see when employees request PTO, request specific shifts or have an emergency.
  7. Electronic delivery of schedules means that employees receive their schedules early and helps you stay compliant with local scheduling laws and regulations.
  8. Employee portal access allows employees to look at schedules from home, request time off when they are thinking about it (and not a week later when they urgently remember), and submit feedback around extra shifts and other schedule requests.
  9. Missed shift alerts notify employees who have failed to clock in, allowing managers to more quickly address the issue.

7. What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Predictive Scheduling Laws

Predictive employee scheduling regulations are part of a larger employee rights trend aimed at improving the work/life balance for hourly and part-time workers.

Businesses with fluctuating staffing demands often use ‘just-in-time’ employee scheduling. The instability wreaks havoc on the lives of the lowest paid employees in the workforce. These are the people most likely to be living paycheck to paycheck while juggling two or more part-time jobs. Many argue that the practices are unethical and prohibit upward mobility for the least advantaged.

Predictive scheduling laws are known by several different names including fair workweek, secure scheduling, and advance scheduling. Let’s look at the employee scheduling methods in question.

Employee Scheduling Practices Targeted

  • Posting schedules with little or no advance notice.
  • On-call shifts.
  • Changing posted schedules with little or no advance notice.
  • Canceling shifts at the last minute.
  • Sending employees home before they have worked their full shift.
  • Failing to give new hires a good faith estimate of the number of hours they will be able to work.
  • Bringing employees in from other locations to fill shifts instead of giving the hours to existing employees.
  • Hiring new employees instead of giving more hours to part-time workers who want additional hours.
  • Scheduling workers for “clopening” shifts. This is when an employee must close an establishment and then come back to re-open it within a short time frame.
  • Providing little or no rest between shifts.
  • Failing to reasonably accommodate employees’ requests for flexible schedules.
  • Retaliating against employees who make schedule requests, refuse to work shifts added at the last minute or decline to cover for an employee who calls in sick.

How Does Predictive Scheduling Impact Employers?

So far, most of these provisions apply to retail and/or food service employers. Some include the hospitality industry. Many of the measures have minimum employee requirements which further narrows their scope. Nevertheless, employers rarely welcome additional regulation. Let’s examine the advantages and challenges for business owners.

Advantages of Predictive Scheduling

  • Providing flexible schedules improves employee retention.
  • Posting schedules in advance reduce shift coverage gaps.
  • Fair scheduling reduces absenteeism.
  • Predictive scheduling improves employee satisfaction which, in turn, improves customer service and job performance.
  • Employers who provide fair scheduling have a hiring advantage.
  • Fair scheduling supports the physical and mental well-being of employees.
  • Predictable scheduling creates a happier work environment for everyone.

Challenges of Predictive Scheduling

  • Scheduling managers have to forecast staffing demands in advance.
  • Unexpected changes in staffing requirements may cost the employer in predictability pay.
  • Employers who want to limit the number of full-timers on their staff may be forced to push part-timers into full-time status.
  • Employee scheduling changes can affect their Affordable Care Act ‘large employer’ status.

Employee Scheduling Software Essential for Compliance

Employee scheduling software helps business owners comply with predictive scheduling regulations.

Demand forecasting tools allow managers to determine staffing requirements in advance. Overtime alerts and meals/breaks settings simplify compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other local employment regulations. With scheduling software, employers can comply with workweek regulations while decreasing labor costs.

Legislation That Involves Employee Scheduling

Let’s look at the current state of predictive scheduling legislation. Most of the ordinances adopted have already gone into effect. Some have provisions that will phase in over time. As of this writing, Oregon has the only state-wide predictive scheduling law. It went into effect on July 1, 2018. The following jurisdictions have passed laws with scheduling implications.

San Francisco Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinance

  • Retail and chain restaurant employers required to post employee schedules two weeks in advance.
  • Predictability pay required if the schedule changes without seven days’ notice.

Emeryville (California) Fair Workweek Ordinance

  • Employers required to post schedules 14 days in advance.
  • Extra compensation required for schedule changes taking place in the week prior to the schedule taking effect.

San Jose (California) Opportunity to Work Ordinance

  • Employers must offer additional hours to existing part-time workers before hiring new employees. This includes contract and agency workers.
  • Employers are required to keep employee schedule and payroll records for four years.

New Hampshire Senate Bill 416

  • Requires business owners to consider requests for flexible schedules.
  • Restricts employers from retaliating against workers who request a more flexible schedule.

New York Fair Workweek

  • Retailers prohibited from using on-call scheduling.
  • Retailers must post schedules at least 72 hours in advance.
  • Fast food employers must provide 14 days’ notice of schedules and provide additional compensation for schedule changes after posting.
  • Fast food employers restricted from scheduling clopening shifts without additional compensation.
  • Fast food employers required to provide 11 hours of rest between shifts.
  • Fast food employers must give existing workers extra hours before hiring or bringing employees from other locations.
  • Fast food employers must post all available shifts.

Seattle (Washington) Secure Scheduling Ordinance

  • Retail and food service employers required to post schedules 14 days in advance and provide extra compensation to employees whose schedule is changed during that time.
  • Employers must retain schedule records for three years.

Washington D.C. Hours and Scheduling Stability Act of 2015

  • Food service employers must post schedules three weeks in advance.
  • Employees are allowed to reject any hours or shifts added after schedule posting.
  • Employees who agree to work hours added after the schedule posting must provide written consent.
  • Employers must offer extra shifts to current employees.
  • Employers required to keep scheduling records for three years.
  • Employers must give employees one hour of predictability pay for shifts added, canceled, or changed at the last minute.
  • Employers must provide fours hours of predictability pay when regular or on-call shifts are canceled within a day of their shift start times.

Oregon Fair Work Week Act

  • Affects hourly employees of hospitality, retail, and food services businesses (including chains and integrated enterprises).
  • Applies to companies with 500 workers worldwide.
  • If the primary duties do not relate to retail, hospitality or food service operations, the employees are not covered.
  • It doesn’t affect salaried employees, workers exempt from minimum wage, and contractors supplied from temp agencies. These workers are also not counted toward the 500 employee threshold.
  • To determine the number of employees, business owners calculate the average number of workers employed on each workday during 20 or more workweeks during the current calendar year or the previous calendar year.

Ohio Senate Bill 331

Ohio employers are not restricted by this bill. It allows business owners to decide whether to provide advance notice of schedules or flexible schedules to employees. Though it is not mandated, Ohio business owners who practice employee-friendly scheduling will reap the benefits discussed previously.

Many jurisdictions are considering legislation that regulates employee scheduling. Employers should stay up-to-date with the laws that apply to their workforce.

In Conclusion

SwipeClock has several employee scheduling solutions. WorkforceHUB, our Human Resources Management System (HRMS) includes TimeSimplicity. TimeSimplicity is a full-featured platform that can handle complicated team schedules, multiple locations and sophisticated forecasting. Our timekeeping solution, TimeWorksPlus, has basic scheduling and PTO tracking.


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