Fair Workweek Laws

What are Fair Workweek laws?

Fair Workweek laws are regulations that aim to make employee scheduling more stable, fair and transparent. They seek to help hourly, part-time, and shift workers better manage their personal lives outside of work. They are also called Predictive Scheduling and Advance Scheduling laws.

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. The practices are unethical and prohibit upward mobility for the least advantaged.

The idea is that, unlike on-call scheduling, predictable schedules make it easier for workers, especially part-time retail and restaurant workers, to meet their needs, such as working another job, attending school, or arranging childcare. National Law Review

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

Is there a federal Fair Workweek law?


Where are employers subject to Fair Workweek laws?

Oregon is the only state with a Fair Workweek law. Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Emeryville (California), San Jose, and Chicago also have laws that prohibit many employee scheduling practices.

Current Fair Workweek laws are limited in scope

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 exclude the smallest businesses.

What types of Work Tech help employers comply with Fair Workweek laws?

Employee scheduling software helps employers comply with Fair Workweek regulations. Managers can create complicated team schedules in minutes regardless of the scheduling logistics: shifts of varying lengths, seasonal staffing fluctuations, and multiple locations.

Employee scheduling software has the following features:

  • Schedule templates
  • Overtime alerts
  • Meals/breaks settings
  • Drag-and-drop employees into shifts
  • Multiple schedule views
  • Self-service shift trading (with manager sign-off)
  • Demand forecasting
  • Schedule rules
  • Certification tracking
  • Availability alerts
  • Schedule by department, work group or location

Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) include employee scheduling platforms. When scheduling is integrated with timekeeping, PTO tracking, and payroll, employers can not only comply with Fair Workweek laws, they can improve efficiency and productivity across the organization.

See also

Additional resources

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