Navigating Labor Laws in 2019

By Steve O'Brian posted 12-05-2018 12:44

Walmart recently announced plans to adopt predictive scheduling in all U.S. stores by the end of November. Is it safe to assume America’s largest company believes predictive scheduling laws will be enacted nationwide in the not too distant future? Perhaps, but it could also be a strategic move that’s good for business. Research reported in the Wall Street Journal indicates regular schedules (via new laws) benefit employees, but ultimately, businesses benefit too. Happier, healthier workers demonstrate improved performance, which leads to higher retention rates and reduced costs of attrition.

These laws impact temp staffing firms too, but not everyone agrees to what degree they should impact the industry. An ASA lobbying effort in 2018 led to staffing firm temporary employees being excluded from the Oregon predictive scheduling law that applies to retail, food, and hospitality industries. How does your staffing firm view the impact of predictive scheduling? How will you look to attract and retain talent while ensuring compliance to an increasingly complex set of labor laws, union rules, and employment policies?

Here are few insights into employment laws going into effect in 2019 that may affect your workforce, and a list of resources that staffing firms can use to stay compliant….and efficient:

Predictive Scheduling

While predictive scheduling laws differ from place to place, they follow a similar set of rules:

  • Employers must post the schedule in advance, usually between 7 to 14 days before the first scheduled shift.
  • Extra pay is given to employees if an employer changes the schedule after the posted schedule.
  • There must be an adequate rest period between shifts unless a worker volunteers to work during a rest period.
  • Employers must keep all records for a certain amount of time pertaining to the schedule.

Minimum Wage Increases

  • California continues to lead the nation in new employment laws that favor hourly and part-time workers. In 2019, California’s minimum wage changes to $12.00 per hour. This is in addition to a number of other employment law changes, including amendments to rules regarding equal pay, salary history, immigration, criminal background checks, parental leave, and workplace safety.
  • Twenty states and Washington, DC will also have a new minimum wage in 2019. Minimum wages and overtime costs have major impacts on overall labor costs. A great resource for updates is the Economic Policy Institute, which maintains a full list of current minimum wages, by state.

2019 Employment Law Resources

There are many information sources you can bookmark to help you stay up to date on current employment laws affecting scheduling. Here’s a starting set of links you may find useful:

Role of Scheduling in Compliance

Scheduling complexity increases with the introduction of new scheduling reform, but the level of complexity multiplies as companies grow and workforces expand. With nearly three in five US workers hourly based, many staffing firms are turning to scheduling automation to help keep them compliant in an ever-changing legal landscape. And while workforce scheduling software gives employers peace of mind knowing their workforce is compliant, it also enhances the effectiveness of the scheduling process overall, in a number of ways:

  • Reduces scheduling time through automated monitoring and checking of contracts, credentials and other scheduling conflicts.
  • Increases managers’ productivity by avoiding wasted time spent on collecting data to validate worker eligibility, enabling more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Improves schedule accuracy by only viewing the people who are eligible and available to take the shift assignment.
  • Provides 24/7 access to critical workforce documents stored in one centralized solution

Through education and awareness of new employment policies in your region and industry — coupled with best-in-class technology solutions — staffing firms can boost the performance and engagement of their employees, while increasing the overall effectiveness of your scheduling process. A win for employee and employer alike.

-Steve O’Brian is the VP of Marketing at Shiftboard, a global leader in workforce scheduling.