Everything You Need to Know About Philadelphia Fair Workweek

by Katie Sawyer, · 6 minutes

On April 1, 2020, the Philadelphia Fair Workweek Ordinance went into effect. Following other cities like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, Philadelphia is working to create a fair and predictable work environment for its hourly employees.

Understanding all of the regulations can be tricky, so read on to easily learn everything you need to know about Philadelphia Fair Workweek.

Which employers are covered by Philadelphia Fair Workweek?

The Philadelphia Fair Workweek law covers three different industry segments:

  1. Retailers that have 30 or more locations worldwide, and employ 250 or more employees. These include independently-owned franchises if the franchisor’s brand meets the 30-location and 250-employee requirements.
  2. Food-service establishments that have 30 or more locations worldwide and employ 250 or more employees. These establishments include independently-owned franchises if the franchisor’s brand meets the 30-location and 250-employee requirements.
  3. Hospitality industry employers that have 30 or more locations worldwide and employ 250 or more employees. These hospitality employers include independently-owned franchises if the franchisor’s brand meets the 30-location and 250-employee requirements.

Which employees are covered by Philadelphia Fair Workweek?

The Philadelphia Fair Workweek law is inclusive to many employees. Nonexempt employees who have job duties that involve providing retail trade, food, or hospitality services are covered by the law if they work for a covered employer.

When does the law go into effect?

Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek law went into effect on April 1, 2020. However, the predictability pay requirement for schedule changes is not currently being enforced due to COVID-19. Other aspects of the law such as the requirement to provide a good faith estimate and access to hours requirements are being enforced, however.

What is a good faith estimate?

A good faith estimate (GFE) helps employees better predict what they’re expected work schedule will be. Under Philadelphia Fair Workweek, employers must provide new hires with a good faith estimate of what their typical work schedule will look like. The GFE must contain all of the following information:

  1. The average number of work hours the employee can expect to work each week over a typical 90-day period.
  2. Whether the employee can expect to work any on-call shifts.
  3. The days and times the employee can typically expect to work, or the days of the week and shifts the employee will not be scheduled to work.

A GFE must also be provided to existing employees on or before July 1, 2020.

Will you need to issue an updated GFE to the employee?

Yes. Employers must issue a revised GFE when there is a significant change in the employee’s work schedule due to the employee’s availability or the employer’s business needs.

If you’re a Deputy Enterprise customer, it’s up to each employer to monitor their employees’ hours worked, and re-issue the GFE manually using the Deputy News Feed. (Coming in the upcoming month, the ability to set a GFE against an employees profile, and automatically re-issue it when the legislation requires).

When do you need to provide a new hire’s first work schedule?

Employers must provide new hires with a copy of their initial written schedule on or before their first day of work. The initial work schedule must include all shifts the employees are scheduled to work through the end of the currently posted work schedule.

How far in advance must you publish work schedules?

All work schedules (except the initial schedule for a new hire) must be posted at least 10 days in advance. This will change to 14 days starting on January 1, 2021. It’s up to the employer to know the advance notice requirement and to publish schedules.

What if you need to change the schedule after the 10-day notice period?

Employers must provide employees with notice of schedule changes as promptly as possible and prior to the changes taking effect. Employers are required to revise the posted schedule within 24 hours of making the change.

Yes. Employers cannot require employees to work any changed shifts without their written or electronic consent. To obtain consent, employers should offer the changed shift to the employee and request that they accept it electronically.

Do you have to pay employees premium pay if you change their work schedule?

Yes. If an employee’s schedule is changed after the 10-day advance notice period, they are entitled to predictability pay. Deputy automatically applies predictability pay for employer-initiated changes to an employee’s work schedule as follows:

  • One hour of predictability pay at the employee’s hourly rate of pay, when the employer adds time to a work shift, or changes the date or time or location of a work shift, with no loss of hours.
  • Half times’ the employee’s hourly rate of pay for any scheduled hours the employee does not work because hours were subtracted from a regular or on-call shift, or a regular or on-call shift was canceled.

If you use Deputy, there are a few circumstances in which Deputy will not apply predictability pay automatically. Those instances include:

  • Employee-initiated changes (e.g. swapping shifts in Deputy)
  • Changes made to the schedule within 24 hours of posting (grace period allowed under the law)
  • Changes of 20 minutes or less
  • Hours subtracted due to termination of employment (The employer must first discard the employee in Deputy before deleting their shifts. Otherwise, the system won’t know they’ve been terminated and predictability pay will be auto-applied.

Do you have to pay employees premium pay if that employee changes their own schedule?

No. You’re not required to pay a premium for employee-initiated schedule changes. For example, if an employee swaps shifts with someone else or calls their manager to change the schedule, predictability pay is not owed since the change was requested by the employee.

What is the “access to hours” requirement?

Employers must offer available shifts to current employees before hiring new employees. The offer must be in writing and must remain open for 72 hours unless a shorter period is necessary. The notice must include a description of the position and qualifications, length of time coverage will be needed, schedule of available shifts, and how to accept the offer.

If you use Deputy, you can provide offers of available shifts to your employees using the News feed. Employers may then award shifts to employees by using the “offer shift” feature in Deputy and the employee should then accept the offered shift.

What is the clopening requirement in the Fair Workweek law?

A clopening happens when an employee is scheduled to work any hours that are scheduled less than 9 hours after the end of a previous day’s shift, or during the 9 hours following the end of a shift that spanned 2 days. Employers must obtain written or electronic consent from an employee prior to scheduling them for a clopening. Employers must also pay a clopening premium of $40 per shift.

If you use Deputy, you can use the offer shift feature to offer a clopening to an employee. Employees may then accept or decline to work the clopening shift. If they accept, Deputy will automatically apply the clopening premium.

Does the law require you to retain records?

Yes. The Ordinance also mandates that employers maintain records for two years that show compliance with the Fair Workweek law, including good faith estimates of work schedules, modifications to GFEs, written consent to work shifts, offers of work shifts to existing employees and responses to those offers, as well as payroll records showing predictability pay. Such records must be produced if requested by an employee or the enforcement agency to be designated.

If you are audited, Deputy will provide you with a copy of your Deputy records upon request. Employers may also create numerous reports within Deputy to provide to auditors.

Let technology such as Deputy help

Although some of these regulations are tricky, there are tools to help you stay on the right side of compliance. Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to let our software help carry the workload of Fair Workweek compliance. The Philadelphia Fair Workweek award is now available in Deputy and it’s available to enterprise customers. Upgrade today and a Deputy representative will help install it in your account.

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