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The Protections of the Philadelphia Fair Workweek Employment Ordinance

August 5th, 2019

By Jessica Brown

Philadelphia has taken a big step forward in improving the lives of many retail, food, and hospitality workers in the city. Beginning on January 1, 2020, covered employers will be required to provide employees with the following:

  • Advance notice of their work schedules;
  • “Predictability pay” where there is a deviation from the provided schedules;
  • “Good faith estimates” of anticipated schedules; and
  • A “right to rest” between shifts.

These requirements will provide predictability to many employees’ work lives, where such predictability has been sorely lacking.

What employers are covered?

“Covered employers” includes: restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail establishments that employ at least 250 workers across all their locations and have at least 30 locations worldwide. The aggregate numbers include chains and franchise locations. Full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers are counted when determining if an employer meets the 250-worker threshold for coverage.

What employees are covered?

All full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers who:

  • Are non-exempt (or hourly);
  • Work for a covered employer in Philadelphia; and
  • Whose job duties include providing retail, food, or hospitality services.

Employees that are subject to a collective bargaining agreement that waives the protection of the ordinance are not covered by its protections.

How does the advance notice provision work?

No later than 10 days before the first day of any new work schedule, the employer must post the work schedule for all employees in a “conspicuous place” or provide it electronically, as long as all employees have on-site access to the schedule. The work schedule must include employees’ shifts and if they are scheduled to work or be on-call during the time-period the schedule covers.

The posted schedule must be revised within 24 hours of any change made. Employees can refuse to work any hours or additional shifts not included in the posted schedule.

Employees have the right to make work schedule requests without retaliation.  However, an employer is not obligated to grant an employee’s work schedule requests.

What is predictability pay and when is it paid?

Predictability pay is pay an employer must pay to employees when the employer changes the posted work schedule after the required 10-day notice period.

An employer must pay its employees one hour of predictability pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay when the employer adds time to a work shift or changes the day, time, or location of the shift, with no loss of hours. The employer must pay its employees at least one-half of the employee’s regular rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work, or when a regular or on-call shift is shortened.

Predictability pay is not required when an employee makes a written request for a schedule change, when employees voluntarily trade shifts, or when there is an event outside the employer’s control that causes the schedule change.

How does good faith estimate of an anticipated schedule provision work?

New employees must be given a “written, good faith estimate” of their work schedule at the time of hire. It must include an estimate of the typical hours an employee can expect to work over a 90-day period, if the employee will be expected to work “on-call” shifts, and days, times, or shifts the employee should expect either to be assigned or not to work.

What is the right to rest?

The right to rest requires that employees be given a nine-hour rest period between shifts or after a shift that spans two days. Employees cannot be penalized for refusing to work during rest time. Additionally, any employee who agrees to work during the rest period must do so in writing and be paid an extra $40 for each shift he or she works.

If you have any questions about the Fair Workweek Employment Ordinance, please contact the labor and employment lawyers at Willig, Williams & Davidson at (800) 631-1233.

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