Fair scheduling is a contentious topic on which many employees have strong feelings. Many workers in North America are subject to erratic scheduling practices, frequently helped by modern technologies in which computer algorithms generate labour schedules based on expected consumer demand. Unpredictable schedules are found in many occupations, but they are prevalent in retail and service industries. Workers in these industries also confront a lack of benefits, terrible working conditions, and inadequate pay. Unpredictable schedules are often the result of”just-in-time” scheduling software, which attempts to match the exact amount of workers with demand while wreaking havoc on workers who have little control over a timetable that fluctuates from day to day, or even hour to hour. So how can you bring fair scheduling into your company? Why is fair scheduling such a significant factor in the Hospitality Industry?
This blog will discuss the issue of unpredictive scheduling and the impact it has on the hospitality industry. The blog also discusses fair scheduling and how it benefits the employees and the company in the long run.
Unpredictive Scheduling is Unfair Scheduling
Unpredictable scheduling or Just-in-time scheduling is a scheduling practice that matches worker supply to customer demand. Workers generally receive their schedules with little notice and may have their shifts modified or cancelled at the last minute. Employers may put workers on-call with no guarantee of employment or send them home without pay if demand has declined by the time they arrive for their shift. This typically implies that employees are not promised a certain amount of hours each week.
So why do companies implement this technique?
Unpredictable schedules are more commonly a consequence of a retail and service industry business strategy that views labour as an expense to be managed rather than a source of productivity and competitive advantage. Many firms have developed so-called “lean labour strategies” or “workplace optimization systems”. They aim to match the number of employees on the job with customer demand as closely as possible in real-time. Unpredictable schedules are increasingly widely used in the low-wage retail and service industries. This software uses computer algorithms to build timetables that are carefully adjusted to projected consumer demand, considering variables such as time of day, weather, season, and even neighbouring sporting events. These strategies guarantee that organizations maximize the number of people on hand hourly (or even shorter).
Unpredictable scheduling methods move business risk away from corporations and onto employees and their families. As a result, workers have little to no control over their time. This method may appear to make good business sense at first look. In practice, however, there is evidence of a wide range of adverse economic consequences for families, businesses, and the economy.
How prevalent is unpredictive scheduling?
According to statistics from the American Time Use Survey Leave and Job Flexibilities Module, two in every five wage and salary workers over the age of 15 know their schedules less than one month in advance. Almost one-fifth of people know their plans less than a week in advance. Men have less scheduling notice than women, owing to gender inequalities in employment in industries or vocations where short notice is typical.
The industry has a significant impact in predicting whether a worker would be subject to just-in-time scheduling. Three out of every four workers in the leisure and hospitality business receive their schedules less than one month in advance, with the majority receiving less than two weeks’ notice. Construction and agricultural employees are most likely to have their timetables delivered less than a week in advance.
Hospitality Industry has the most unpredictable scheduling, based on the stats reported by the Beauru of Labour Statistics. For industries such as retail and hospitality, just-in-time scheduling has become a norm that employees have become used to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality industry had a 130.7% turnover rate in 2020. This is an unusually high percentage, but it was 78.9% before the epidemic. Maybe unpredictive scheduling is the problem behind such high employee turnover.
What are the effects of unpredictive/unpredictable scheduling?
Unpredictable schedules influence who can take these occupations and how productive people can be on the job, both of which affect firm earnings. Families’ income fluctuates, reducing their capacity to purchase goods and services, affecting family well-being and general economic demand. Unpredictable scheduling patterns also make it difficult for employees to plan other elements of their lives, such as childcare, attending school, or working a second job. Such schedules have significant negative consequences on family life, children’s results, and our economy as a whole.
Are these techniques effective? When just short-term labour expenditures are considered, these approaches can reduce costs. For example, Jamba Juice Firm’s Chief Financial Officer told investors that just-in-time scheduling helped the company minimize labour expenditures by 4 percent to 5 percent, saving millions of dollars. However, this does not account for the hidden costs that affect both enterprises and the economy. Workers subject to on-call shifts are frequently called in even though they are not scheduled to work or arrive at work for a planned shift only to be sent home without pay.
Economic implications of unpredictable schedules
This paradigm may have short-term benefits for a specific company. Still, it also has costs and hidden—and harmful—short- and long-term rippling consequences on these enterprises and our economy as a whole.
- Unpredictable schedules ignore hidden costs and labour demand issues, such as turnover and absenteeism;
- Unpredictable schedules negatively affect the relationship between labour and productivity, and profitability, particularly in service industries;
- Unpredictable schedules transfer the risk of doing business to workers and their families. This reduces family income and disproportionately affects women and people of colour;
- Unpredictable schedules negatively affect the quality of workers and the overall labour supply, which inflicts measurable harm.
According to a JPMorgan Chase review of banking records, clients reported an average 20% fluctuation in labour wages from month to month. A study based on their bank account data indicates that household spending is very susceptible to these monthly income swings. It doesn’t seem very fair for the employees, does it? So how can employers help disadvantaged employees and reduce volatility in labour wages and household spending?
Our next section looks at fair scheduling, the solution to this massive problem in the hospitality industry.
Fair scheduling, also known as secure scheduling or predictable scheduling is legislation that mandates scheduling methods to safeguard shift employees in the hospitality and retail industries. While bylaws vary by state or municipality, most include provisions such as:
- How far in advance must staff know their scheduled shifts.
- Predictability pay for schedule changes or cancellations.
- Minimum hours between shifts (to eliminate the contentious clopen).
- “Good faith” hours estimates for new hires.
- Employee rights to refuse or request shifts.
- Private rights of action.
Fair Workweek rules, also known as Predictability Pay regulations, are designed to promote fair scheduling practices in the hospitality and service sectors, which are notorious for having irregular work schedules. They ensure that employees have a predictable number of hours and a consistent work pattern. Fair Workweek is influencing new markets, and its benefits have spread to other businesses now implementing beneficial changes to their laws and regulations.
What are the must-haves for fair scheduling?
Preparing for fair scheduling might require some effort from the employers at first, but the benefits it will have for the employees and the company, in general, are worth it. Employers must ensure five things when scheduling their employees:
- Good Faith Documentation: Distribute, monitor, and finalize documents with workers at all stages of the hiring process.
- Forecasting Demand: Create schedules that consider historical data, demand forecasts, and activity-based intelligence to determine the exact quantity of work required weeks in advance.
- Get Real-Time Alerts: Receive real-time notifications of schedule changes and employee time-off requests that necessitate considerations and tracking.
- Managing last-minute scheduling changes: View notifications when changes to a schedule are published that will result in premium pay entitlements.
- Schedule at least two weeks in advance: Ensure employees know when their shifts are, and allow them to accept their shifts or contact you if they cannot make a shift for a particular reason.
Implementing the Fair Scheduling law allows employees to be more active in creating and maintaining their schedules. Part of this new approach, for example, requires employers to provide “preferential consideration” to requests for transportation, daycare, other employment, and training. However, a lack of clarity about how to prioritize these requests may be both troublesome and perplexing.
Whether your city has already seen legislative reform or you want to get a head start on the issue by changing your scheduling practices, staying ahead of the curve will protect you and your company from legal ramifications.
Benefits of fair scheduling with Celayix
A centralizing scheduling platform such as Celayix is handy because it allows an employer to create schedules more orderly manner and allows employees to access schedules electronically. Celayix’s scheduling software also helps communicate schedule changes to employees, provides organized record-keeping, and helps ensure that the employer complies with applicable scheduling laws.
Through fair scheduling, employees gain two main benefits. The first benefit is financial stability since employees will know how many hours they will work on average. This certainty aids in monetary stability. Second, knowing their schedules two or more weeks in advance allows employees to plan their personal affairs accordingly.
Fair scheduling provides employers with improved organization and more productive staff. “Employers benefit from a reduced turnover rate when workers have more job satisfaction by knowing their schedule,” says David Reischer, Attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com. Predictive scheduling results in a more respected and well-rested staff, which benefits both the employee and the customer experience.
The hospitality industry is one of the most challenging in terms of personnel scheduling complexity. Most firms employ people whose demands, availability, and schedules constantly change.
However, creating an efficient and fair schedule is anything but straightforward. Your firm will function smoothly with a clear timetable. Your employees can work efficiently without feeling overwhelmed, worried, or frustrated. Staff scheduling will remain fair and efficient as long as employers make sure they:
- Schedule for business needs & assess staffing costs
- Schedule for Employee Satisfaction
- Be Consistent with Scheduling
- Encourage employee scheduling collaboration
- Communicate the Schedule Regularly
- Monitor Time and Attendance