- Walmart announced Tuesday that it will adopt a new scheduling system that makes employees' schedules both more predictable and flexible. All U.S. stores will have access to most of the program's features by the end of the month.
- My Walmart Schedule, an app, will implement the new approach. The app allows employees to see schedules, swap shifts with coworkers and select unfilled shifts to work. It allows employees to adjust schedules quickly if plans change, said Walmart. And to give workers more consistency, the system makes use of a scheduling method called "core hours." Employees on a core-hour schedule work the same weekly shifts for at least 13 weeks, which Walmart said allows them to plan their lives around work. That final feature will be available in all stores by early next year.
- According to Walmart, store managers say the new scheduling system saves up to eight hours a week, allowing them to spend more time on the sales floor with customers and co-workers.
Walmart workers are enjoying the advantages of predictive scheduling thanks to their employer, but many more hourly employees may reap its benefits courtesy of the law. So far, legislation requiring that certain employers use predictive scheduling exists in one state, Oregon. San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Emeryville, California, have adopted local laws, and more states and cities are considering similar measures.
The laws are designed to protect workers, largely in retail and food services, against unpredictable, last-minute scheduling changes that make it hard to take care of personal responsibilities, such as keeping medical appointments or getting a babysitter. They also can help workers budget because employees know how many hours they'll be working each week.
While employers have generally fought these changes, saying they need to remain agile, some say there's enough of a silver lining in the simplified scheduling and employee engagement benefits.