Over the years, many businesses have utilized on-call scheduling. The idea behind this is that employees are given a schedule with on-call times blocked off. They are then required to check in with their manager (either in person or over the phone) a few hours before their shift begins to find out if they are needed at work.
While in theory this seems like a fine idea, as employees don’t need to come into work when they are not needed, it is actually quite unfair to your employees. Planning to go into work requires many employees to make childcare and transportation arrangements. When it is revealed only hours before that they are not needed, not only are they denied the income they had planned on but they are left with plans that are not needed.
While on-call scheduling is not against state or federal law, many states are taking action against it. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia now require companies to pay their employees if they ask them to report to work, even if they’re sent home early.
San Francisco was the first city to create a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights in order to address on-call scheduling calls. The law penalizes employers if they fail to give employees advance warning and requires them to give hourly employees “predictability pay” for any last-minute schedule changes. Oregon also created a mandate that requires employers to give their hourly employees at least seven days’ notice of which shifts they are working.
What You as an Employer Can Do
While a simple solution to this problem would to be end on-call scheduling, this is easier said than done. Instead, employers can try to forecast their staffing needs and offer incentives for employees to pick up additional shifts.
Try making schedules at least two weeks in advance. This gives employees plenty of time to plan accordingly.
During busy times when you need additional shifts filled last minute, try offering them on a first-come first-serve basis to all employees. An additional monetary incentive will also help employees willingly pick up the shifts.
As you can see, while on-call schedules may be great for business, they are anything but for your employees.