Big Changes to Some Big Employers’ Employee Scheduling Practices

“Affected employers will have to provide their employees with seven days advance notice of their shift schedules”

On June 29, 2017, the House approved and sent to the governor, Senate Bill 828 which will require large employers in certain industries to provide advanced notice to employees of their work schedules. This new law will affect only retail, hospitality, and food service establishments with 500 or more employees worldwide. Affected employers will have to provide their employees with seven days advance notice of their shift schedules. Affected employers will also need to make a good faith effort to provide new employees with an estimation of the average number of hours the employee can expect to work in a month. It is expected that the governor will sign the bill into law.

The new law will also provide employees of the affected industries with a right to rest between work shifts. The right to rest, which an employee may waive, requires the employer to not schedule an employee to work during the first 10 hours following the end of a work shift. If the employer does schedule an employee during a rest period, then the employer must compensate the employee at time and a half for each hour worked during the rest period.

If an employer requests changes to an employee’s work schedule without seven days’ advance notice, then the employee may decline the work shifts. However, if an employee requests additional work shifts in writing, then the employer does not need to provide advanced notice. If an employee accepts the shift, then the employer will have to provide additional compensation in most circumstances. Additional compensation requirements will not apply in some circumstances such as when an employee initiates and arranges a work shift swap or coverage agreement with another employee.

Employees of the affected employers will also have a right to provide input as to limitations or changes to their work schedule. However, an employer will have no obligation to grant an employee’s work schedule requests.

Affected employers will be required to post in the work place a notice of employee rights under the new law. Employers will also be required to keep records for three years documenting their compliance with the new law.

Employers will be permitted to maintain a voluntary standby list of employees willing to cover shifts because of unanticipated customer needs or unexpected employee absences. Employees will have the option to be removed from the list at any time. An employer may not retaliate against an employee that does not want to be on the list or declines to work additional hours. The punishment for coercing an employee into being added to the standby list is a civil penalty up to $2,000.

The seven days’ notice requirement, good faith estimation of a new employees work schedule, voluntary standby list, right to rest between work shifts, employee right to input into work schedule, compensation for work schedule changes, notice of employee rights and recordkeeping requirements will become effective in July, 2018.The enforcement provisions and retaliation prohibitions will take effect in July, 2019. Beginning in July, 2020, affected employers will be required to provide two weeks’ notice to employees concerning their work schedules.

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