Make Scheduling a Breeze in the Windy City: Prepping for Chicago’s Proposed Predictive Scheduling Law

 
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Predictive scheduling laws were designed to give workers less uncertainty over their schedules. While only a handful of cities—San Francisco, Emeryville, NYC, Seattle, and, as a first, the entire state of Oregon—have enacted predictive scheduling laws with varied guidelines, the ordinances follow a similar formula: Employers must provide the schedule in advance, typically 7-14 days before the first scheduled shift, and if an employer changes the schedule, the employee must receive extra pay.

Until now, predictive scheduling really only affected employers in the food service, retail, and hospitality industries. But Chicago is looking to broaden the scope.

We’ve previously highlighted how inadequate scheduling practices can spell serious financial trouble for your employees; considering 80% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, unexpected losses in shifts threaten their stability. In a survey of more than 1,700 workers conducted by the University of Illinois, over a third said they get their schedules with less than a week’s notice and 40% wish they could work more hours. On top of this, over 70% of respondents claimed that unpredictable work schedules interfere with time for family.

In response, this proposed predictive scheduling law would apply generally to most large employers operating in the City of Chicago. If you’re a Chicago employer, here’s what that could potentially mean for you—and how to streamline your scheduling process in the meantime.

The Proposed Fair Workweek Ordinance

Covered employees would include all hourly workers and salaried employees earning less than $50,000 a year and would apply to employers with at least 100 workers and to restaurants with more than 250 employees and 30 locations globally. Franchisees who own four or fewer locations also would be exempt. Exempt workers include those who work in sports stadiums or as live-in staff at residential institutions for the disabled. Though there are exemptions for the construction industry, the city and other governmental agencies.

If the Fair Workweek Ordinance is approved, here’s what employers are accountable for starting April 1, 2020:

    • Providing workers’ schedules at least 10 days in advance (will increase to a minimum of 14 days in 2022)

    • Giving the worker an hour of “predictability pay” at their regular wage rate if their schedule is changed less than two weeks before the shift

    • Paying the worker half of what they would have made if their hours are canceled or reduced within 24 hours of the shift’s start

    • Allowing workers the right to decline work hours that start less than 10 hours after the end of a shift as part of the “right to rest” provision—if the employer doesn’t get written consent from workers willing to work such shifts, they have to pay them time and a half

    • Offering existing part-time workers extra hours before hiring new people


Prepare with Employee Self-Service

Are your schedulers currently employing on-call practices? Are they making changes to the roster and calling people off the day before their shift is supposed to start? Are your hourly employees coming to the facility, only for some to be dismissed an hour later due to overstaffing? Is demand forecasting a pipe dream because scheduling has been a very manual, day-by-day process?

Then it’s time to consider a change.

With or without this ordinance, your business depends on it. 23% of the workers who took that University of Illinois survey said they had to look for another job because they couldn’t make ends meet with the sparsity of hours they were given. Environments that rely on a 24x7 workforce like manufacturing and energy production are already suffering from a worker shortage. You don’t want “bad scheduling” to be the reason you can’t retain employees, do you?

Whether the ordinance passes as is or revisions are made to make the law more flexible for employers, your organization should start putting steps in place to improve its scheduling process. No matter the outcome, your employees are your most valuable asset, so easing any burdens they may have should be a priority.

The biggest way to respond is by setting up Employee Self-Service (ESS) capabilities. It’s an efficient way to not only make your current employees happy now, but also to streamline some of your scheduling hiccups before the Fair Workweek Ordinance is implemented—it’s a win-win.

The proposed ordinance does not prevent workers from trading shifts or requesting changes to their own schedules. Remember, the Fair Workweek Ordinance is all about providing transparency and giving some power (and stability) back to the employee. ESS does just that.

ESS increases scheduling transparency. Your employees can see their schedule on their mobile device and actively request changes to it—this saves a lot of time for schedulers and supervisors who find themselves sifting through leave and overtime request forms. With ESS, workers can view schedules, request time off, volunteer for jobs, and swap shifts with another employee—all from the comfort of their phones.

By making changes initiated by the employee transparent, everyone at the organization is on the same page about who is working and when. Things like swapping shifts and job bidding will be a nightmare of the past as it puts more onus on the employees. Best of all, because all of this information is logged, schedulers can use this information to determine who would be the most qualified fit when they are creating the next round of schedules two weeks in advance.

Leverage Analytics to Curb Overscheduling

At the end of the day, predictive scheduling laws encourage employers to accurately project their demand needs and schedule accordingly. To succeed in doing this, you need real-time labor demands integrated at the point of scheduling.

When the scheduler is able to quickly assess what their spread looks like, they can proactively control for any gaps (or remove people from an overcrowded shift before the schedule is finalized). With automated employee scheduling software, your organization can leverage important labor data while creating a schedule in minutes.

You can not only develop schedules in advance, but you can do so while determining employee availability, allowing adequate rest time between shifts, and maintaining all the other operational rules you need to keep compliant. On-call scheduling (a huge no-no if predictive scheduling passes in Chicago) will be a thing of the past because it won’t be necessary.

Such analytics will ensure that you will be staffed to match only what you need.

The Indeavor Solution

Want to increase employee satisfaction while fixing your scheduling process—before it’s potentially too late and you’re swimming in predictability pay?

Workload can help. Click here to request a demo.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.