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Philadelphia Delays Start of Law Mandating Predictable Schedules

Nov. 29, 2019, 8:45 PM

Employers in Philadelphia are getting a short reprieve from a new law requiring workers to have predictable schedules and opportunities for rest between shifts.

Implementation of the city’s “Fair Workweek” ordinance was pushed back from January 1, 2020, to April 1, 2020, to allow public input to be incorporated into the final rule, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office announced Nov. 29.

Covered employers also have until July 1, 2020, to provide employees with “good faith estimates” of average work schedules, one of the components of the new law.

A year ago, Philadelphia became the fifth city in the country to enact “predictive scheduling” legislation that mandates increased scheduling predictability for employees. These laws are a relatively new frontier of labor regulation but are gaining momentum. The first such law went into effect in San Francisco in 2014. Chicago passed an expansive law in July and other locales, including Los Angeles, are considering passing predictive scheduling laws.

At their core, the laws are intended to give employees more control over their work-life balance by requiring scheduling to be set two weeks in advance and by penalizing employers for requiring shift changes without sufficient notice.

Philadelphia’s law is aimed at larger business chains and covers retail, hospitality, and food service establishments. The regulation applies only to establishments that employ 250 or more workers (including outside of Philadelphia) and have 30 or more locations worldwide. Employers covered by the law must pay a premium to workers when work times are changed, work location is changed, or hours are unscheduled.

The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Labor, which is overseeing the implementation of the new regulations, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Report on Regulations to Come

Philadelphia’s final regulations implementing the Fair Workweek ordinance aren’t expected to be released until mid-to-late December, according to the city.

The city is finishing a report that responds to public input and must be finalized prior to release of final regulations. Businesses would have had just days to prepare for implementation of the new law under the previous timeline.

“Due to the short amount of time between the anticipated posting of final regulations and January 1, 2020—the law’s original effect date—updated regulations will announce that the effect date of the law will be postponed until April 1, 2020,” the city said in its announcement.

Philadelphia held a public hearing Nov. 18 to address comments received on the new Fair Workweek regulations. Advocates and business owners spoke at the hearing, according to the city.

The city’s report on public input will be made public once final regulations are released next month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Wallender in Washington at awallender@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com