On November 10, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new scheduling regulations aimed at offering employees a more “predictive” approach to scheduling also known in various circles as “Fair Work Week”, “Just-in-Time”, “Predictive Scheduling”, “Call-In” and “Fair Scheduling” legislation. This follows on the heels of San Francisco’s 2014 ground-breaking legislation that has proven to be a catalyst for worker’s rights. New York has now followed in the footsteps of other states and municipalities including Seattle and Oregon with many other local governments surely to follow suit.
Who and How are New Yorkers Impacted?
The legislation is wide-sweeping and certainly impacts employers and workers in key industries including, but not limited to Manufacturing; Retail; Construction; Health Care; Hospitality; Quick Serve Restaurants; Public Safety; and Energy Services. Like many other scheduling regulations that preceded Now York’s, the policies have some employers on the defensive seeking guidance on how to integrate the legislation into their workforce management structure. As Michael Lingat, spokesperson for the workforce management software company, Workloud indicated, “We’re seeing an onslaught of questions and concerns from employers throughout the country as to the best ways to comply with these regulations. The one common denominator in all of this is without technology, and some sort of employee scheduling and time and attendance software, the chances of compliance are slim.”
In actuality, there are five general requirements set forth in New York’s legislation; they are:
- Employees will be paid for at least four hours of work when called-in by an employer
- Employees will be paid an additional two hours of pay if called-into work for a shift that was not scheduled at least 14 days in advance
- Employees will be paid at least four hours of work if their shift is cancelled 72 hours from the start of the shift
- Employees will be paid at least four hours of work if they are required to be on-call by the employer
- Employees will be paid at least four hours of call-in pay if they are required to remain in contact with the employer within 72 hours of the start of their shift to confirm whether to report to work
Is your head spinning yet? You can already see how complicated this is to handle on a spreadsheet, or some other type of manual process. Multiply this complexity by 50, 500 or even 5,000 employees and you have yourself a new dynamic in workforce management the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
What are the Penalties?
Let’s start out by saying they’re stiff. Essentially, they can range from $200 to $2,500 per employee per instance. Civil penalties to employers who demonstrate a pattern of non-compliance will be subject to fines up to $15,000. A few penalties here, and a few penalties there, and pretty soon you’re talking about some real money. Real money that would have been better spent on employee scheduling software that would have kept you compliant, eased the painstaking record-keeping and reporting requirements that are mandatory for some industries like quick service restaurants, and workforce management solutions that can easily apply your businesses’ exact rules to keep schedules within the legislative boundaries of the law.
Emotions are Running High
It’s not difficult to understand that government regulations focusing on worker’s rights are going to create a social media firestorm on each side of the issue – just take a peak at Governor Cuomo’s Twitter account, or New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s account; know that much of what has been Tweeted is not acceptable for your viewing pleasure in this article. But as Workloud’s Lingat concedes, “Popular or not, the New York employee scheduling law is just that, a law. The sooner companies realize the challenges they’re facing and take the proper measures for resolution – which is the employment of workforce management technology into a company’s overall systems – than the sooner those companies will be able to adopt the required changes and become compliant. The early adopters, as is frequently the case, will be best suited to turn these regulations from inconveniences from some employers’ perspectives to harbingers of workplace change where employees are more productive through satisfaction and gratification, where turnover is low, morale is high, and training costs are minimized because of longer tenures.”