Two new bills – The Schedules That Work Act (S. 1772) and an identical bill (H.R. 3071) – were recently introduced on the U.S. Senate floor and in the House of Representatives. If passed, these bills could have a major impact on the way your scheduling works.
What is The Schedules That Work Act?
The Schedules That Work Act and its identical counterpart in the House of Representatives, gives employers new compliance measures to follow when scheduling. These measures would require employers to make, keep, and preserve the records of their compliance with the act if passed.
Another stipulation of the proposed legislation is a required notice posted in the workplace. This notice must clearly explain employee’s’ rights under the Act.
How It Works
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D. Mass.) introduced the bill. In it, she outlined that employees have the right to apply to their employer for changes with the following requested schedule terms and conditions:
– Number of hours the employee is required to work or be on call for work;
– How often the employee must work or be on call for work;
– Where the employee must work;
– How much notification an employee receives for schedule assignments;
– The daily, weekly, or monthly fluctuation to an employee’s schedule.
What It Means for Employers
There are defined expectations for employers in accordance with this new law. You must have a “timely, good faith, interactive process with the employee…” This includes discussing potential schedule changes to meet the employee’s needs. As a result, you would be required to deny or grant the request.
If you deny the request, you’ll have a few other requirements. These include:
– Openly considering alternatives to the proposed change to meet the employee’s needs;
– Granting or denying requests for the proposed alternative changes;
– Stating a clear reason for the denial, which must be a bona fide business reason.
The law also addresses the restaurant, retail, and building cleaning industries. These industries must offer employees the ability to report time pay, split shift pay, and get advance notification of work schedules. If the Act is passed and the employer does not conform to these new laws, the Secretary of Labor could bring a civil action against your business to enforce the Act.
Having tools, such as employee scheduling software, will help you prepare for this new law. You’ll be able to plan your schedule farther in advance and give your employees time to prepare. This way, time off requests can be made faster and more easily than before.
The only businesses that this Act does not apply to are those covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement with terms that already govern work scheduling practices.
The law comes shortly after the Fair Scheduling bills introduced earlier this year. What’s next on the docket for employee scheduling fair practices?
Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.