How can employers maintain fair workweek compliance?

photo of employees gathered around an online schedule

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Fair workweek compliance is no joke. For employers, it can be an extremely frustrating adjustment that comes with a lot more paperwork. But businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the legislation. Failure to adhere to the laws can result in costly lawsuits and fees totaling millions of dollars.

Even if you do adhere to the laws, though, if you’re not taking steps to adjust how you schedule your shift-work staff, you could end up shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in predictability pay, instead. Fortunately, there are ways to comply with fair workweek, keep employees happy, and improve your bottom line.

In addition to meeting the requirements listed in our previous post, here are 4 other steps employers can take to ensure they stay compliant:

1. Be aware of all local and state fair workweek laws and if/how they apply to you.

Make sure you know and understand the current laws for any city and state in which you do business. Then, schedule an annual or bi-annual review of the legislation and your company’s scheduling and attendance policies. Subscribe to industry publications, employment law sites (like JD Supra), and compliance newsletters, too. If there’s a local grocery or restaurant association, stay in touch so you can keep an eye on what’s coming next. Finally, make sure you’re keeping up with new ordinances being proposed at your city council level.

Even if your city or state doesn’t have fair workweek laws in place right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Remember: fair workweek is here to stay.

2. Keep managers informed of the laws and train them on fair workweek compliance.

Point #1 above doesn’t matter if your managers aren’t kept in the loop. Make sure that the people who will be doing the scheduling know what’s expected and what the consequences for the business will be if they don’t adhere to the rules. This may mean retraining your managers on best scheduling practices, holding online courses, and sending out regular reminders. Keep an eye on the number of violations and check in regularly with managers to keep controllable costs down. If your scheduling software supports it (TimeForge does), consider adjusting the settings so that managers can’t post late schedules or make changes after the fact.

Tip: If you’re not in an area where fair workweek laws are in effect, use this time to prepare for the inevitable. Slowly build in changes, such as requiring your managers to post schedules in advance. This will help get the entire team used to predictive scheduling ahead of time.

3. Make staff aware of their fair workweek rights and give them the tools to exercise those rights.

In some cities and states, the law requires you to post workers’ rights clearly at their place of work. Make sure you are open and transparent about the laws, workers’ rights, and how everyone needs to work together to maintain compliance. After all, if your business fails, your employees lose, too. Use fair workweek as an opportunity to improve employee engagement and retention.

In addition, make sure employees understand the process for making schedule requests, such as time off requests. For example, if you formerly required employees to make their schedule requests 1 week in advance, you’ll now need to make sure they know to make those changes 2+ weeks in advance. If your scheduling software supports it (again, TimeForge does), update the settings so that employees are required to get their requests in early enough for managers to accommodate them!

4. Use technology to automate compliance, send alerts, and generate logs and reports.

By far, one of the easiest ways to ensure your business is compliant with fair workweek laws is to take advantage of technology. Technology can greatly reduce the workload and financial burdens that fair workweek can have on employers. For example, TimeForge can do every single thing listed below and more:

  • accurately forecast sales volume weeks in advance to generate efficient schedules
  • post schedules online in advance and where employees can access them anytime
  • warn managers if a schedule or schedule change would result in overtime or a “clopen”
  • let you control who can make changes and when (for example, you can disallow changes by managers but allow employees to swap shifts)
  • handle employee shift swapping and let employees volunteer for or bid on available shifts
  • document all schedule changes and who initiated them
  • automatically notify users of schedule changes, using team messages, SMS texts, and alerts
  • track violations and automatically compensate employees for missed meals, etc.
  • generate compliance reports

Many software providers say they can handle fair workweek but actually can’t do things like track violations or automatically compensate employees. TimeForge can. Make sure you know what you’re getting when you purchase a technology. To see for yourself what TimeForge can do, request a live demo of our software or try it out for free.

Fair Workweek Compliance and the Future of Business

The fair workweek movement isn’t over. As new legislation is passed in cities and states across the country, more and more businesses will be affected. It’s important that employers understand these laws early and start making changes. Even if your business isn’t affected right now, you might not have the luxury of slowly building fair workweek practices into your processes later.

And remember, fair workweek laws benefit employers, too. Predictable schedules promote happier, healthier employees, which means a more committed and productive workforce. Research shows that when employees have predictive schedules, sales also go up too – by as much as 7%. And while the required changes may seem like a difficult hurdle, they don’t have to be. The right software can automate compliance for you.

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