Predictive Scheduling: At a Glance

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By Kelsey Basten

Published on August 2, 2018

Predictive scheduling is another employment law topic that has risen in popularity over the past few years. For employers, especially in the retail and food service industries, this creates yet another challenge to managing your compliance program.

The Basics

Predictive scheduling usually requires employers to provide employees their work schedules ahead of time. Other scheduling practices that predictive scheduling laws often prohibit include:

  • On-call scheduling
  • Posting, changing or canceling scheduled shifts without notice
  • Sending employees home before their shift is over
  • Failing to provide employees an estimate of the number of hours they will work
  • Scheduling an employee for a closing and opening shift within a short timeframe
  • Failing to accommodate employees’ requests for flexible schedules
  • Retaliation against employees who make schedule requests, refuse to work shifts added late and declining to cover for an employee who calls in sick

Where Else Will I See It?

Although the overarching theme is predictive scheduling, many jurisdictions name their laws other ways, including:

  • Fair workweek
  • Secure scheduling
  • Advance scheduling
  • And more

Where It’s Happening

Large cities have started to ban on-call scheduling and adopt predictive scheduling legislation.

For example, the New York City Council signed a bill May 24, 2017, banning retail employers in the city from utilizing on-call scheduling.

Also, San Francisco City Council passed a predictive scheduling law in January 2015 that requires all retail employers to pay employees for canceled on-call shifts and provide notice to employees of their biweekly schedules.

Where It’s Happening

We are seeing this shift from on-call scheduling to predictive scheduling for a few reasons:

  1. Employees are not able to accurately predict or count on their income because of the uncertain number of work hours
  2. The lack of set-in-stone work scheduling limits their everyday activities, such as holding a second job, attending school and more.

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