If recently passed legislation is any guide, employers in the restaurant industry across the country could be facing restrictive regulations on scheduling employees for work.
The state of Oregon passed a statewide scheduling law this summer that many observers expect will become the template for other states to follow.
The Oregon bill would impact the food service, retail trade, and hotel industries with 500 or more employees. The law, which is slated to take effect July 1, 2018, would require employers in the state to provide employees written estimates of their weekly work schedule seven days before the start of the work week. According to the bill, which at the time this article was written is awaiting the governor’s signature, the reporting period would increase to 14 days by July 2020.
Employees must also be given a minimum of 10 hours rest between shifts or they would qualify for time-and-a-half pay.
The purpose of the bill, according to employees’ rights advocates, is that it gives working parents or those with second jobs more time to plan for childcare or doctor’s appointments.
While the bill faced strenuous opposition, such as from the National Retail Federation, the fact that the bill passed with bipartisan support has signaled to many industry watchers that the Oregon law could easily become the model for other states as they craft similar legislation.
With that in mind, it is more important than ever that restaurant owner/operators have reliable scheduling processes. A solid schedule is important for employee satisfaction and for maximizing your business’ efficiency.
The McDonald’s eLabor system that rolled out at the end of 2016, and other electronic scheduling platforms used by other retailers, is designed to make it easier to set schedules and quickly make changes when necessary.
The key is for the scheduling manager to be organized and keep up with important dates that will have an impact on staffing levels, such as school calendars, holidays, corporate promotional dates, among others.
Having a set routine for establishing the weekly schedules is also important for the scheduling manager. This is why programs like eLabor provide weekly milestones to keep the scheduling manager on track so he or she does not fall behind getting out the week’s schedule.