With predictive scheduling taking hold across the country,
here is how to come into compliance overnight.
By Derek Jones
Thus far, 2018 has lived up to its promises; however, it has also been fraught with changes. One trend sweeping the nation is that of predictive scheduling adoptions. Dozens of states and municipalities are ushering in new legislation that requires strict scheduling laws for hourly workers. In sectors including retail, restaurant, fast food and hospitality, this means that workers receive schedules in advance and are better able to plan work/life balance.
New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and the state of Oregon have already enacted such measures, and scheduling laws are expected to increase at the state and local level with legislation proposed in Washington, D.C., Illinois and Pennsylvania. These laws present no small matter to adjust to, but with the right preparation and innovative technology solutions on your side, it is possible to make a seamless transition.
Read the Fine Print
Predictive scheduling legislation – often referred to as Fair Workweek laws, secure scheduling or fair scheduling – vary by location. General commonalities include rules that employers must notify their employees of schedules at least two weeks in advance.
Open shifts must also be offered to any existing employee rather than bringing in new hires, and under these new laws “clopening,” which is the practice of closing and then opening back-to-back, is banned. If employers violate laws, they face fines or risk paying premiums to employees for each schedule change.
Free to Branch Out
The new laws target chains, specifically franchises, with a stipulation that if you have more than 30 locations anywhere within the United States, you are required to comply. Auditors know that franchise systems have deep pockets and typically follow a standard operating procedure, so chances are that if one location isn’t compliant, an auditor may select further brand locations to examine. This can not only penalize other franchise owners, as other locations may be owned by other owners, but can cause damage to the brand in the public eye.
There is, however, a piece of good news. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Joint Employer status has recently been decentralized. That means franchisees have more decision-making autonomy, including finding the right technology solutions for their businesses. Less corporate-led direction and more franchisee-led decision-making power gives franchise owners new opportunities to suss out solutions that facilitate compliance.
To manage hourly workers, owners can no longer solely rely on familiar methods like Excel spreadsheets, hand-posting schedules to bulletin boards, text messaging chains for filling shifts or relying on employees who close up to return again in the morning to open.
How do franchise owners avoid compliance headaches? First, adjust your workplace handbook to accommodate the changes happening now to hourly workforce regulations. By setting new expectations and training front-line workers and managers, expectations around compliance will be easier to navigate.
Secondly, technology is a franchise owner’s friend. Web-based scheduling tools are imperative to today’s compliance hurdles. Implementing an all-in-one workforce solution enables you to tackle predictive scheduling challenges by automatically creating a time-stamped and optimized schedule, facilitating and tracking communication between employees and scheduling managers, immediately disseminating real-time company information or news and offering open shifts to existing employees first. The software takes care of compliance for you, freeing you to run the franchise.
Employee-friendly legislation is on the rise, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for franchise owners. Predictive scheduling laws are just one among many areas – see minimum wage increases and paid leave allowances for others – that will transform the future of work.
As predictive scheduling expands to more cities and states, the pressure will only increase to get in tune with local laws while attracting and retaining the best talent. The good news? The technology to make life easier as well as garner a competitive advantage exists, you just have to bring it home.
Derek Jones is vice president of business development for Deputy.