In 2015, San Francisco enacted one of the first Predictive Scheduling laws in the United States. Late last year, Oregon became the first state to enforce them statewide. With this trend of laws starting to span the country (and likely the world), it's important to take a moment and examine their intent and impact.
Why Predictive Scheduling?
Predictive Scheduling laws were created to make work schedules more fair for both employees and employers across multiple industries. The primary targets were retail and food service, where shifts can be unpredictable and employees are often called in last-minute to work. These laws were drafted to protect the employees from retaliation in these cases, as well as ensure that schedules are available a set amount of time ahead of the work date. This can vary from 72 hours (in New York City) to two full weeks (in some San Francisco cases). With the ability to better plan their work shifts, this allows employees to live without the unpredictability of not knowing when they'll be called to work next. Over the past five years, more and more cities have rolled out Predictive Scheduling regulations, and some companies have even voluntarily chosen to enforce their own.
How is Predictive Scheduling Working Out?
Incredibly well. According to a survey from Deputy, a workforce management platform, employees hours only exceeded what was scheduled an average of one time over the first six months of 2019. They averaged 86.2 hours a week scheduled and worked 85.4, ensuring that overworking was rare. In addition to lower rates of unscheduled overtime, employees also benefit from having more advance notice of their shifts. A recent survey from the Center for WorkLife Law demonstrated that lower stability in scheduled shifts led to increased sales and productivity, better sleep quality for employees, and lower overall stress levels. With benefits for both employees and companies, it seems likely that predictive scheduling will continue to gain popularity. While it remains unclear whether this change will be spurred by lawmakers or the companies themselves, predictive scheduling appears to be the future of retail and restaurant employee management.