The What and How-Tos of the Fair Workweek Legislation

This holiday season give your employees the ultimate gift - adopt a Fair Workweek mentality. Here is everything your company needs to know in order to properly prepare and comply.

Fair Workweek: What You Need To Know and How To Comply

The fair workweek initiative or predictive scheduling legislation may go by many names, but these terms essentially mean the same thing: an end to erratic employee scheduling.

While it may seem as if the fair workweek’s snowball effect on legislation has slowed down due to unforeseen events (Covid-19, labor market fluctuations, etc.), additional locations are in the process of considering the adoption and enactment of these laws (amongst them: Washington, Connecticut and Massachusetts.)

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell. States, companies and local businesses can proactively prepare in advance to adapt to predictive scheduling laws. More than that, they should be preparing; not only to avoid the disruption of adjustment, but to prosper from the double-sided benefits that come with predictive scheduling. (Read more on how companies prosper from enacting fair and predictive scheduling for employees.)

What does your company need to consider under fair workweek legislation? Employees have the right to the following:

  • Good Faith Estimate of Schedule
  • Advance Notice of Work Schedules
  • Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts
  • No Clopening Shifts Without Employee Consent and Premium Pay
  • Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes

Analyzing what each of these individual terms mean will help your company understand how to easily comply with each one.

What Does It Mean: Good Faith Estimate of Schedule

A Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of Schedule is a reasonable estimate given by the employer regarding the hours, days, times and locations an employee can expect to work. This estimate is typically given to each new hire before the start of their first shift.

Complying with GFE means that employers:  

  • Give an estimate of median numbers of hours an employee can expect to work each week
  • Let employees know whether they will be expected to work on-call shifts
  • Revise the GFE each year for existing employees
  • Update the GFE is there are major changes in the employee’s availability or business demands
  • Keep a record in writing of GFE and estimations of minimum number of scheduled shifts

How You Can Comply With Good Faith Estimate of Schedule

Your Ubeya news feed is the communications center for your entire team, from full-time employees to part-time, temp, shift, hourly, contract, freelancers and more. Here you can broadcast or send privately any update, question or form.

  • Send new hires a GFE directly to their Ubeya message chat
  • Send existing employees an estimate of their expected work hours on a weekly, monthly or daily basis
  • Broadcast GFE announcement or attach as a file, picture or PDF
  • View stats of who viewed your message, and who didn’t
  • Send employees push notifications requesting them to confirm your message
  • Republish messages and updates only to team members who didn’t see or didn’t confirm
  • All forms of communication are sent and saved directly through Ubeya’s secure system for your record keeping purposes

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What Does It Mean: Advance Notice of Work Schedules

How far in advance should a work schedule be posted? While the requirements of each city and state vary, most locations agree on a 14 days notice on work schedules. These include San Francisco, Emeryville, New York City, Seattle, and Oregon. (Philadelphia and Chicago require 10 days notice. In San Jose, Berkeley and SeaTac, no advance notice is required; employers must offer additional hours to existing employees before hiring more, or, in Berkeley’s case, employees can request flexible arrangements twice a year and after major life events.)

Advance Notice of Work Schedules requires employers to:

  • Write or make clearly accessible the advance notice of work schedules
  • Notify the employee about any changes to the work schedule after the advance work notice either by: in-person, phone call, e-mail, text message, or other electronic/accessible written format

How You Can Comply With Advance Notice of Work Schedules

First of all, it is important to note that as a manager or employer, you can communicate the flexible needs of your business at the same time that you communicate scheduling in advance by creating an open line of conversation with your team. For example, when coming to an agreement about the minimal notice of advance scheduling, we suggest to also communicate to your employees about your company’s possible volatile scheduling needs. Both sides should be mindful of each other’s needs.

All forms of communication are saved and easily accessible in Ubeya’s database

  • All forms of communication are saved and easily accessible in Ubeya’s database
  • Schedules for jobs, shifts and events are synced with your and your employees’ calendars, however much ahead of time as you want (14 days, 21 days, a month)
  • Check your employees’ availabilities ahead of time so that they are aware of their upcoming work schedule; you can have peace of mind knowing that everyone has already been scheduled and notified
  • Of course, if scheduling demands change due to volatile or unforeseen circumstances, Ubeya’s system lets you quickly notify and communicate with anyone on your team in an instant (see below)

What Does It Mean: Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts

Before hiring new employees to fill in available shifts, employers must first give existing, qualified employees the priority to take on these shifts, work additional hours and essentially increase their end-of-month pay checks.

Employers enacting Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts must:

  • Advertise open shifts to existing employees and team members
  • Provide the full, correct information about the location, hours and deadline for the available shift
  • If no current workers accept the shifts or are interested by the posted deadline, then employers may hire new employees

How You Can Comply With Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts

Ubeya’s solution combines employee availabilities, scheduling and communication into smooth, interchangeable channels so that you and your employees can easily interact when it comes to matters of last-minute or newly available shifts.  

  • Use your feed channel to publish information about the available shift to your current team and existing employees
  • Employees are instantly notified when shifts have been published or when new opportunities are available
  • Check availability with your existing team by “boosting your shift”, notifying your employees that there is a free or open shift that they can sign up for
  • Review the stats of who saw the shift, who signed up, and republish to those who didn’t
  • Order employees directly from the staffing agency or company you are working with through Ubeya

What Does It Mean: No Clopening Shifts

Companies can no longer require employees to work “clopening” shifts, meaning closing and opening shifts that are less than the required number of hours apart (depending on your location, can be 10 or 11 hours), without explicit employee consent and premium pay.

  • Employees can’t be assigned to work clopening shifts when there is less than the minimum number of rest hours between shifts
  • Employees must volunteer or consent in writing to work clopening shifts
  • Employees receive premium pay (for example, time-and-a-half or a set budget) for working clopening shifts

How You Can Comply With No Clopening Shifts

Ubeya helps take away much of the stress of staying on top of your entire team’s working hours, schedules, availabilities and preferences by automating the scheduling process for you and sending you alerts about irregularities.

  • Creating and assigning schedules through Ubeya’s automated system gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire team’s schedule
  • Employees can request to sign up for extra shifts, like clopening, with their full consent
  • Receive alerts directly to your dashboard or email, notifying you when employees are scheduled to work irregular hours

What Does It Mean: Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes

The fair workweek laws are designed to protect employee rights by penalizing employers who make last-minute changes to employee schedules. In most cases, the amount of Predictability Pay compensation depends on how much notice was given to the employee.

  • Compensation must be given to employees who did not receive an advance notice on schedules or whose working hours were altered with little or no notice (e.g. less than a week)
  • Predictability Pay compensation varies according to local and state laws (e.g. in San Francisco, shift changes made in less than 7 days notice will entitle employees to to one hour of pay for each shift change)
  • Compensation must be given for on-call shifts that require employees to be available, but not actually called into work depending on the duration of the shift and local and state laws

How You Can Comply With Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes

By using Ubeya, we want to help you avoid compensating workers with Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes as much as possible so that you are running your operations as smoothly as ever and your employees are engaged and satisfied.

  • Your employees can mutually agree to swap work shifts directly through Ubeya’s system, and you only need to approve
  • You send out a mass communication about available additional hours and employees can volunteer to work
  • Your employees have the right to decline shifts and hours that are offered to them at the last-minute
  • Your employees can ask for changes, vacations and other requests that you can view and approve in one place

The Impact of the Fair Workweek

Scheduling mismanagement ultimately hurts any business’ bottom-line, and the impact of last-minute schedule changes can be detrimental for both employers and employees. Thankfully, there are easy ways to avoid unpredictable scheduling with upgraded systems that provide clear communication, compliance safeguards and seamless flexibility to the evolving workforce today.

Further Reading