As secure scheduling laws pass in cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, it’s creating tougher labor laws and greater complexity in scheduling practices for large retailers and food service establishments with 500 or more employees. Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), originally scheduled to go into effect December 1st but now postposed to June 1, 2017, add to employer liabilities and the need to increase controls on how workers are classified and paid.
With growing labor regulations, paper processes leave greater chance for oversight of non-compliance due to negligence, intentional or not, and will (and already have) increase cost in the way of fines, penalties and reputation loss. As the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) begin to crack down on failures to comply, careful, strategic planning will be needed to keep in check with new regulations.
More Rules, More Risk?
Increases in predictable scheduling laws bring along more compliance standards that need to be met. As employers are aware, these rules also don’t come with much explanation, leaving much interpretation up to the employer. This puts uncertainty and liability on the employer, making it more important than ever that employers evaluate their systems and invest in the right software to help maintain compliance.
Secure scheduling laws look to give employees stability and balance in work schedules but create complexity for employers. Typically, employees in the retail and food services industry may receive little to no notice of work schedules, making planning ahead for child care, school, and family difficult. New regulations require employers to post schedules at least two weeks in advance and provide at least 10 hours rest between closing and opening shifts, among other changes to benefit part-time employees. Growing complexity in labor laws and failure to keep up with changes or demonstrate compliance are leading to more fines, settlements, and payment of back wages.
While secure scheduling laws will likely become common across more cities, as of now, employment laws vary greatly between different geographical areas and business sizes. Companies may have been able to get by with manual schedules or simple tracking systems, but with stricter labor laws and scheduling guidelines, there’s greater need for a proactive approach and new processes to mitigate risk against non-compliance. Workforce management software, able to meet the specific needs of your industry, can facilitate compliance and help retailers and food service establishments turn scheduling into a science, making it predictable for employees while meeting the needs of the business.
Jay Pobis is a solutions architect in Avaap’s HCM practice. Most recently Jay spends his time helping organizations implement HCM and talent management solutions to achieve the best people processes to power their business.