Starting this November (Nov. 2017), New York City is implementing more stringent regulations on the scheduling of fast food workers in the Big Apple, putting increased burdens on these businesses in terms of their workforce management (WFM).
NYC’s new Fair Workplace legislation consists of several separate bills with regulations for the minimum amount of time between shifts, and the frequency of schedule changes among other changes. While this legislation aims to make work time more stable for fast food employees, it can be extremely costly for employers with less than adequate scheduling methods and/or WFM systems.
The minimum wage for NYC fast food employees is $15 per hour, or $600 for a 40-hour week. Add $100 to that paycheck, if you make the mistake of “clopening” or scheduling said worker to back-to-back shifts with less than 11 hours in between. Add $10 for every change an employer makes to a fast food worker’s schedule within a week of when the worker is needed, if there is no change in the number of hours. If there is less than one week’s notice, add another $5 per change. If there is a reduction in the number of hours, then add $20 per change. If that reduction does not come with seven days’ notice, then the penalty increases to $45 per change. With less than 24-hour notice, the penalty rises to $75 per change.
In addition, hiring new employees is penalized, unless no current workers want to work the overtime hours being offered – and the employer must offer these hours far enough in advance to ensure all employees see the notice. For owners with multiple fast food restaurants, the notices must go to every employee in each of the owners’ stores in NYC.
One potential way to avoid much of the upcoming penalization for shift changes is implement shift-bidding or self-scheduling. That is, employers do not have to pay a penalty if the employee switches a shift with another coworker voluntarily. Penalties come only when the employer must force a change. As an employer, it is your task to make sure your WFM software suite can forecast and schedule with reliability and accuracy to avoid the penalties for making shift changes. Your WFM software should be flexible enough to include the rules and regulations you, the owner, are accustomed to in running your business, plus the new rules going into effect to avoid the new ‘clopening’ penalty, for example.
The better the access employees have to their schedules, the greater chance of avoiding penalties concerning notice. A mobile WFM app could be the solution, giving workers access to their schedules on their smartphones, and giving the employer a method to push out alerts and notifications to their workers regarding schedule changes, overtime availability, etc.
If your Workforce Management solution cannot meet the new requirements, and you operate one or more fast food outlets in NYC, your company could begin a very costly learning curve starting this November.
And while this legislation currently applies only to NYC fast food outlets, don’t be surprised if some other local and state governments around the country follow suit. Down the road, fast food restaurants (and possibly other industries) in other jurisdictions may have to adjust to similar changes in labor laws affecting them.
Fortunately, modern WFM systems can help minimize the negative impacts these types of changes in labor laws can have for business owners today.
A privately-held, American-owned company, Pipkins, Inc. was founded in 1983, and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. The firm is a leading provider of Workforce Management solutions for the contact center industry. Today, Pipkins’ systems forecast, plan and schedule more than 300,000 agents in over 500 locations across all industries worldwide. In addition, Pipkins WFM solutions have applications for back office and remote workers, as well as a range of other businesses. For more information, visit https://www.pipkins.com.
by: Martha Heltsley, PhD
Photo Credit: Brandon Morgan