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New push to mandate predictable schedules

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The latest employer practice under widespread attack is scheduling. While there are no federal rules that require employers to tell employees well in advance what their schedules will be, some states are beginning to change that.

Employers in New York may soon find themselves having to set predictable schedules for their employees.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently sent a letter to major retailers telling them that making employees show up on short notice or canceling shifts at the last minute may violate the state’s wage-and-hour laws.

Schneiderman wrote, “Workers deserve basic protections, including a reliable work schedule that allows them to budget living expenses, arrange for child care needs, and plan their days.”

One of the recipients of the letter was retailer Urban Outfitters, which just announced that it will implement so-called predictable scheduling for its New York stores. Employees will receive their schedules at least a week in advance. Other chains jumping on the bandwagon include Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch and Bath & Body Works.

There are several reasons to consider setting predictable schedules even if you don’t have operations in New York.

First, other cities and states are considering mandates to control schedule setting. San Francisco has a new predictable schedule ordinance, and Minneapolis is considering requiring schedules to be set a full month in advance. Maryland’s General Assembly is exploring similar legislation.

Second, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division is also looking at regulating scheduling as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Finally, it may make sense to move toward predicable scheduling for purely business reasons. It’s one way to remain an employer of choice and differentiate yourself from other workplaces.

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