Regulations

Oregon’s New Scheduling Law Starts July 1

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Oregon is the first state to adopt a predictive scheduling law statewide for the retail, food services, and hospitality industries that will go into effect on July 1. S.B. 828, also known as the Fair Work Week Act, pertains to food service, hospitality, and retail establishments that have operations in Oregon and have at least 500 nonexempt employees working globally.

As the effective date of July 1 , 2018 approaches, here are the key takeaways from the Fair Work Week Act that employers should take note of:

  1. Employers must provide employees with written work schedules seven days in advance, including regular and on-call shifts. As of July 2020, this notice must be given to employees at least 14 days in advance.
  2. Employers must provide new employees with a good faith estimate of hours upon hiring.
  3. Give workers a rest period of 10 hours between two shifts. Employees may waive this rest period voluntarily, but a time-and-a-half rate applies.
  4. Employers must allow employees to express scheduled preferences, although there is no requirement to grant the requests.
  5. If scheduling changes are made close to or on the day of the workers’ shift, employees must be paid one half times the employee’s regular rate of pay, per hour, for hours not worked when they were scheduled but then cancelled. Additionally, employees must be paid one additional hour of pay when at least 30 minutes are added to an employee’s shift by an employer without notice.
  6. Employers are required to have a post visible poster to employees listing in English (and languages most used in the workplace) displaying the rights entitled to employees under the Fair Work Week Act.

Failure to comply with the law or discrimination against an employee for inquiring about the law may result in civil penalties ranging from $500 to $1,000 per violation. If, however, the penalties are paid within two weeks from receiving the notice, the amount is required to be reduced by 50%.

In any event, employers may keep a standby list of employees who are willing to work extra hours to account for unexpected employee absence and other extenuating circumstances. There are stringent rules around the standby list. An employer must provide the following in writing to employees electing to be on the standby list:

  • Being on the list is voluntarily;
  • Steps on how to request being removed;
  • How the employer will notify the employee of extra hours available
  • The employee is not required to accept the additional hours
  • The employee is not entitled to extra compensation outside their normal rate

An important thought for employers to keep in mind if administering a standby plan is that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries may assess penalties of up to $2,000 to employers who have coerce employees to sign up for the standby list.

With less than a month to go, employers who have applicable operations in Oregon should review their scheduling policies to ensure they will comply with the new law. Other businesses should take note; predictive scheduling may soon expand to other states, following in the path of the growing trend of more rigorous pay equity legislation being enacted in states and cities across the country.

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