What companies should know about Oregon’s scheduling law

This article looks at what Oregon’s new scheduling predictability law means for employers.

Oregon recently became the first state to pass a scheduling predictability law. As CNN reports, Governor Kate Brown recently signed the legislation that will require certain large employers to provide workers with more predictable work schedules. The law also requires workers to be paid a premium for certain shifts, such as being scheduled to work after less than 10 hours since their last shift. The change is a significant development in Oregon's employment law and one that all employers in the state should take note of.

What employers should know

As SHRM reports, the new law will go into effect in July 2018 and will only apply to nonexempt employees in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries who work for businesses that employ 500 or more people worldwide.

Covered employees will have to be provided a work schedule at least seven days in advance and, beginning in 2020, at least 14 days in advance. An employer cannot force an employee to work a shift they are not scheduled for and employees can request certain shifts off or not to be scheduled to work at certain locations. New employees must also be given a good faith estimate of the median number of hours they can expect to work in a given month.

Predictability pay

Employers who change an employee's schedule in the two weeks before their shift will be required to pay the worker a premium for doing so. However, there are ways to avoid that premium. Employers can create a standby list for employees to volunteer for extra shifts as they become available, which would exempt the employer from having to pay the premium. Employees are also allowed to agree amongst themselves about swapping shifts.

The law also requires employees be given at least 10 hours of rest between shifts. While an employee can consent to work during that rest period, they must be paid time and a half for doing so.

While the law does place an increased burden on employers in Oregon, it also preempts local ordinances. That means that municipalities cannot pass scheduling laws that are stricter than state law, thus making the scheduling requirements standard throughout the state.

Employment law help

While this recently passed law only applies to certain businesses, it could be expanded in the future, which is why all employers should pay careful attention to it. The passing of this law is also a reminder to businesses about the need to ensure that they are in full compliance with their legal duties and obligations. A business law firm can help employers stay on top of the latest regulations so as to minimize the potential for disruptive disputes involving employees from arising .