Predictable Scheduling Law Seeks to Impose Regulations on Unpredictable Work Hours

May 8, 2019

A Chicago-based ordinance seeks to limit unpredictability in employees’ work schedules by enforcing scheduling-related regulations on larger businesses. The proposal would require employers to inform employees of their schedules at least two weeks in advance, and would require compensation for last-minute schedule changes, by providing for an hour of “predictability pay” at their regular wage rate. Employees would also be given the “right to rest” by having the ability to refuse work hours that start less than 10 hours after the end of a shift.

The regulations are specifically aimed at employers with a minimum of 100 workers, and to “chain” restaurants which have more than 250 employees, with 30 locations globally. Franchises who own four or fewer locations are exempt however, as well as companies in the construction industry, governmental agencies and workplaces with collective bargaining agreements. Additionally, the ordinance would target relatively “low-wage” employees, including hourly and salaried workers that earn less than $50,000 a year.

The ordinance was originally introduced to encourage employees’ independence to schedule day care, medical care, school attendance or a second job, without interference from last-minute scheduling changes. However, a number of large business groups have highly criticized the proposal as unfairly restricting scheduling, that would harm both employers and workers by reducing flexibility in scheduling. The medical industry, for example, is concerned that a hospital will be punished for responding to the changes in patient census and severity of patient illnesses. The hotel industry is also highly opposed the ordinance, citing that a majority of hotel rooms are booked within two weeks and 15 percent are booked on the same day of check in, preventing hotel managers from providing accurate work schedules until the last minute.

Labor groups on the other hand, insist that the regulations would not prevent workers from trading shifts or requesting changes to their schedule, and would offer valuable protections to employees. The ordinance will be voted on by the incoming City Council administration in 2019, and has the opportunity to heavily impact business’ internal management structure and finances. To prepare or learn more about this complex proposal, contact the attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC.