Even if you’re not based in New York City, recent developments there could lead to big changes in how you schedule employees for your business.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced his support of “Fair Workweek” legislation. The new rules de Blasio is backing would specifically affect fast-food businesses. The goal is to give workers more predictable schedules so they can more easily do things like plan for childcare or take on a second job.

“Too many New Yorkers are being put in untenable situations – taking care of kids and aging parents, and then being forced to deal with an arbitrary schedule at a job where they still don’t always make ends meet,” de Blasio said at an event announcing his support of the legislation.

De Blasio’s announcement is part of a larger movement. So if your job includes scheduling employees, it’s worth getting up to speed on both the proposed New York City law as well as similar changes being considered throughout the nation. Here is how you can prepare for the coming changes:

Review the Basics on NYC’s Proposal

According to a news release on New York City’s official website, the legislation De Blasio seeks would require fast-food employers to:

  • Schedule a majority of expected shifts.
  • Post schedules two weeks in advance.
  • Compensate workers when schedules change at the last minute when the reasons for the change are within the employer’s control.
  • Curb consecutive opening and closing shifts (“clopenings”).

The legislation, which would affect about 65,000 workers, will take shape over the coming months, according to the city’s news release.

Research What’s Happening in Your State

If the New York City legislation becomes a reality, it could be trendsetting. As the city’s news release points out, the “Fight for $15” campaign to raise fast-food workers’ wages started in New York and then spread to other cities.

The proposed legislation is also part of a national movement that doesn’t just target the fast-food industry. The Workshift campaign — led by The Center for Popular Democracy, the Rockefeller Foundation and Purpose — is pushing for an end to “on-call” or “just in time” scheduling in industries like restaurants and retail. According to an Associated Press article on Workshift, the campaign has picked up support from several state attorneys general. And retailers like Pier I Imports and Urban Outfitters have agreed to end on-call scheduling.

Seattle is considering its own laws covering on-call scheduling, as are Washington, D.C., Chicago and Emeryville, Calif., the Seattle Times reports.

Consider the Pros and Cons

Advocates say unpredictable schedules hurt workers. The Economic Policy Institute found that the “lowest income workers face the most irregular work schedules.” The Atlantic points out how on-call scheduling makes it harder for workers to get ahead. When employees don’t know their schedules in advance, it’s more difficult to take classes or get a second job. And they may have to forfeit shifts (and lose income) because they can’t plan for childcare.

But not everyone is a fan of the new laws. The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks President Howard Behar told the city council there that they’re trying to “penalize businesses for being in business.” In San Francisco, which already has laws to curb unpredictable work schedules, the Chamber of Commerce says employers have “little flexibility” in scheduling, according to the Times.

Get Ahead of Possible Changes

If you’ve been meaning to improve how your business handles scheduling, these new rules could give you some extra motivation.

In New York City’s news release, Peggy Rubenzer, the senior vice president of people resources for Shake Shack, had this to say in support of the proposed legislation:

Shake Shack cares deeply about the quality of life for all of our team members. That’s why we’ve invested in tools and technology to help managers proactively plan and schedule their busy business days most effectively. With a user-friendly and flexible system our team members are able to easily view their schedules on their devices, and they can also trade or pick up shifts as needed. … Because of this, we feel better equipped to react to the changing requirements than others who might use a more manual scheduling process.

Looking to follow Shake Shack’s? Planday is a tool with all the features that Rubenzer mentions.

Hear what Leith Hill, owner and founder of Ellary’s Greens has to say about Planday: “Our employees love using Planday, because they get more clarity around the schedule, and the autonomy and independence that allows them to exchange shifts,” said Hill. “The platform allows us to set a monthly schedule instead of weekly. That helps us plan and gives the team stability. They love it!”

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