New Employment Scheduling Legislation Poses Challenges
While the federal government has resisted raising the nation’s minimum wage for years, many states and cities have taken it upon themselves to do so. With a mind to improve the incomes and the lives of working Americans, more regional governments are creating better conditions, but at the same time building a confusing patchwork of laws. Employee scheduling legislation is the latest move, with changes proposed by a number of cities and states.
According to a recent blog post by Jason for Shiftboard, 60 percent of Americans work on an hourly basis, so scheduling becomes an important element of their work-life balance as well as their compensation. Future compliance with work scheduling initiatives depends on understanding them. For labor-intensive industries such as call centers, the changes could represent a significant challenge for businesses and their scheduling processes. Some of the new legislation covers the following areas:
Scheduling estimation. These are laws that require employers to provide a general prediction of the hours an employee can be expected to work at the time of hire.
Scheduling input. These are laws that give workers the right to provide input into their own schedule with a goal of offering more work-life balance. These rules allow employees to identify availability, make requests based on time (e.g. specific hours, length of shift) and location, or indicate preferences. In call center scheduling, this may involve using scheduling solutions that allow workers to engage in “shift swapping” that doesn’t need to be specifically green-lit by managers.
Over-scheduling protections. These are rules that will prevent workers from working too many hours in a single shift, or with too little time between shifts without worker consent.
Advance notice of schedule changes. Some rules aim to help prevent workers from last-minute schedule changes by mandating how much notice an employer must provide employees before a schedule change. Similar rules may mandate compensation for last-minute schedule changes such as time-and-a-half. This type of legislation may also include financial protections for on-call workers and rights for workers to refuse changes on short notice.
Schedule access. Some regions are considering implementing guarantees for current employees that they have first access to additional hours or shifts before new labor is brought in, according to the Shiftboard blogger.
“This will require that workers have easy access to schedules and available shifts, so they can decide if they want to pick up extra work,” he wrote. “Meeting these specifications is difficult to do manually. Look for advanced communication tools and real-time schedule access to ease the burden.”
For the customer support industry, real-time schedule access comes in the form of call center scheduling solutions that allow employees to remotely view their schedules (perhaps on a smartphone app) in advance, and apply for changes, swaps and bidding for overtime in an automated way, reducing the burden on managers to determine the feasibility of these changes manually.
With an automated solution, changes such as these need not be a huge burden to the organization. Schedule flexibility and fairness will improve employee retention and reduce turnover which, in the long run, leads to costs saved by the organization.
Edited by Alicia Young