- Predictive scheduling laws — meant to protect employees from short-notice schedule changes — appear to be having their intended effect, according to new research from Deputy, a workforce management platform.
- Shift workers in the U.S. are scheduled for an average of 86.2 hours each month and work an average of 85.4 hours. During the first six months of 2019, employees' hours worked exceeded hours scheduled only once. Deputy said this points to the effectiveness of new fair workweek laws and predictive scheduling regulations; "This potentially illustrates how well young labor compliance laws are working in a complex and tight U.S. labor system," according to the report.
- By comparison, shift workers in the U.K. average 99 hours per month and those in Australia average 93.
Predictive scheduling proposals have cropped up across the country, and at least seven have been passed into law. Other jurisdictions, however, have adopted laws pre-empting such legislation.
Largely aimed at protecting employees, these laws generally require that employees receive their work schedules in advance and that employers refrain from altering those schedules. Some apply only to certain industries, such as retail; others set a maximum wage for protection.
Experts generally agree that unpredictable schedules are a significant burden for workers, creating budget uncertainty, childcare problems and missed doctors' appointments. Recent research shows that they also harm workers' health, creating stress and sleep issues. And a New York Times story published Wednesday outlined how schedule instability is disproportionally placed on women of color — a problem that can hinder diversity and inclusion efforts and create discrimination claims.
Some large employers have made the move on their own. Walmart, for example, adopted a scheduling system last year designed to alleviate some of the problems associated with both unpredictable schedules and rigid schedules. The tech provides predictable core hours for employees, but allows workers to swap shifts or pick up extra shifts on their own.
Some business groups, however, have pushed back against laws mandating such changes. The National Federal of Independent Business, for example, has said that it's unrealistic or impossible for small businesses to create schedules weeks in advance.