- The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), an advocacy organization for small businesses, criticized predictive scheduling laws in a statement Monday. NFIB said that since these laws generally require employers to provide schedules weeks in advance — which is unrealistic or impossible for small business, it said — owners have limited control over their business needs and scheduling decisions.
- NFIB cited additional problems with predictive scheduling laws facing small businesses: having to pay fines or compensate workers for changing or canceling shifts; needing to take on compliance burdens (especially for small organizations that lack an HR or accounting department); and being unable to adjust to market changes, bad weather conditions or other demands beyond their control.
- NFIB also said the laws prevent employees from picking up extra work hours or asking for unanticipated time off on the spot. The group suggested that stakeholders contact state representatives about any proposed predictive scheduling laws in their areas.
NFIB added another perspective to the discussion on predictive scheduling laws. Research on predictive scheduling suggests benefits for workers, and large employers, like Walmart, have tested such policies in their workforces. But the impact of the trend on small businesses is also important, especially as more states and localities pass legislation that mandates predictive scheduling.
Oppositely, employers — even small ones — may want to consider the impact of unpredictable schedules on workers. Retail workers with unpredictable work schedules see negative health effects, according to a recent study by a group of university researchers in the U.S. A survey from Global Retail Absence found that poor employee engagement drives up unplanned absences, but that predictive scheduling might alleviate the problem. Employers aren't entirely unaffected by unstable schedules, either; unplanned employee absences account for one wasted hour for every 10 hours of budgeted in-store labor, researchers at the Kronos' Workforce Institute found.
Walmart is addressing the unstable work schedule problem with an app that allows workers to view schedules, select unfilled shifts to work, adjust schedules quickly if plans change, swap schedules with coworkers and request a shift. The retail giant said the app gives hourly employees more control over their work and personal lives, while reducing scheduling conflicts, last-minute shift changes and no-shows for the company.
HR Dive is tracking predictive scheduling laws with its predictive scheduling law tracker.