For many hourly workers and their managers, scheduling can have implications far beyond picking times and dates on a calendar.
Companies that depend on scheduling workers for last-minute shifts or non-consecutive shifts to accommodate hourly fluctuations in customer flow, for example, are coming under scrutiny.
Critics say that when these practices are abused — especially if employees are summoned to work on short notice only to find out they’re no longer needed for those hours — it can create unpredictable and unethical working conditions. Still, some business owners worry that regulations on employee work schedules could place too many mandates on their companies, which already struggle with so many other unknowns.
Many states already have so-called “fair scheduling” laws that require employers to pay workers extra to compensate them for working non-consecutive hours or for being sent home before completing their full shifts. But there are no federal laws that govern work schedules, and it’s important to know about proposed legislation that could affect companies and shift workers nationwide.
The Schedules that Work Act, introduced last year by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would set national standards on setting flexible schedules for workers, and would allow employees to ask for changes to their schedules without fear of reprisal.
Here are some things the proposed law would do:
- Workers at businesses with 15 or more employees would be able to ask for changes to their schedule, including the location of their work
- Employers would be required to grant requests for schedule changes that arise from workers’ family or health needs, in addition to workers’ second jobs or education; requests could be denied only for “bona fide” business reasons
- Employers would be required to provide “reporting pay” — if employees comes to work and are sent home before being allowed to work their full shift, employers would have to compensate workers for the time that was scheduled but not worked
- Requires “call-in pay” — if workers are asked to call to find out if they’re working less than 24 hours before starting a shift, employers must pay at least an hour’s worth of wages
- Mandate “split shift pay” — when employees work hours that are not consecutive, employers would have to pay an addition hour’s worth of wages to accommodate time spent waiting between shifts
- Requiring advance notice of scheduling changes – employees would have to give 14 days notice for changes in workers’ hours, and if additional changes are made within 24 hours of a shift, employers would be required to pay out an extra hour’s worth of work
Whether you have a restaurant, retail shop or other business, Sling can help you schedule employees, improve internal communication, and issue company-wide announcements in a well-designed all-in-one platform.