This post was written by Candace Chewning, Outreach and Communications Director for the Office of Benefits and Wage Compliance.

Philadelphia’s new Fair Workweek law requires certain hospitality, service, and retail employers provide employees with predictable scheduling practices and additional protections. Learn more about this law and the regulations process. Fair Workweek’s effect date is April 1, 2020.

Our Fair Workweek law is a model for other cities. It is also complex and requires employers to adjust their practices. In other cities with similar laws, the biggest challenge was this initial adjustment. 

There are three things employers can do now to get ahead of anticipated challenges with bringing your business into compliance with Fair Workweek. 

1. Begin averaging hours for existing employees.

“Good Faith Estimates” are a written average of hours in a week that an employee can expect to work. They must be provided before a new employee’s first shift at work. Good Faith Estimates must be provided to new employees starting April 1, 2020 and to existing employees by July 1, 2020. 

The Law encourages employers to engage in an interactive process when creating the Good Faith Estimates. This will need to  happen in order to provide an accurate estimate that is made “in good faith.” 

Employers can get ahead of this requirement by starting to average the work hours of each existing employee now.

2. Begin changing your scheduling practices—the law requires 10 days advance notice of work schedule.

Because it is difficult to anticipate all the possible challenges with this new law, the best practice is to start adjusting now so that you have worked out any issues before April 1, 2020. 

Start to change your scheduling practices now to ease your management and staff into compliance. Take note of what changes tend to occur and challenges that come up. 

3. Develop documents and written policies for staff—assume they are covered and document everything.

This law requires employers to prove compliance if an employee files a complaint with our office and to keep records of compliance for two years. Since there is a private right of action component to this law, our office advises covered employers to assume staff are covered if you are not sure, and to document every scheduling interaction. 

Make sure you have measures and policies in place that will help you prove compliance with this law. Examples include:

  • Call out policy.
  • Procedure for documenting shift swaps.
  • Procedure for how time stamped schedules will be recorded and kept.
  • Procedure for monitoring good faith estimates.
  • Policy on how new work hours will be distributed to existing employees (outlined by the law). 

Regulations will be posted once they are finalized, along with additional resources. Look out for our next blog about Fair Workweek regulations!