Your Solution to Fair Workweek Stress

Dom Newman

Dom Newman

Product Marketing Manager

January 16, 2020

Your Solution to Fair Workweek Stress

Dom Newman, Product Marketing Manager
January 16, 2020


Fair Workweek was first introduced to New York City in 2017. And since then, Deputy has been at the forefront of helping some of the nation’s leading fast food restaurant chains manage these regulations.

In addition to in-house employment law experts, Deputy partners with leading employment law firms such a Seyfarth-Shaw and Littler-Mendelson, and has longstanding relationships with local auditing authorities like the New York OLPS.

The reality is, Fair Workweek law is still new and evolving in many jurisdictions. Deputy’s extensive partnership network with government bodies and legal experts, coupled with the flexibility and configurability of the Deputy product, means we can help you front-foot the changing dynamics of Fair Workweek and protect your business.

Read on to find out how you can gain a compliance-first mindset — and make adhering to regulations easier with Deputy.

What do you mean by a compliance-first mindset?

A compliance-first mindset means putting compliance at the forefront of how you design and implement your scheduling, training, and people-management processes. Compliance can no longer be an afterthought. It must be at the heart of your business culture.

Most schedulers in Deputy are hourly supervisors. But it’s important that not only you and your senior management are up-to-date on the latest regulations. Every shift supervisor or employee in your business who has scheduling or payroll responsibilities needs to be in the loop.

Ready to develop a compliance culture? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Consult an employment lawyer to understand the law and how it impacts your business. Deputy’s in-house legal experts partner with other employment law firms to stay on top of the latest regulations.
  • Learn about the full scope of compliance. Ensure your business meets compliance regulations like Fair Workweek, but also state and federal legislation such as minimum wage, meal and rest break requirements, overtime wages, and other premium pay requirements. 
  • Document your current compliance processes. Keep it updated regularly, and provide handbooks to new and existing staff. When you make changes, post the updates to Deputy’s News feed so your whole team gets notified.
  • Schedule regular training sessions and refresher courses with your staff to ensure they are aware of their obligations, and schedule in a way that keeps your business compliant.
  • Use online resources like the Deputy blog or your local enforcement agency’s website for more information.
  • Adopt a digital workforce management solution like Deputy which creates a digital record to make compliance easier.

Make good on your Good Faith Estimate 

Many Fair Workweek cities and states require employers to provide their staff with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) — an estimate of where, when, and how often an employee can expect work. That includes the hours and days an employee and will work, and typically needs to be provided to the employee on or before their first day of work.

While managing Good Faith Estimates manually requires mountains of paperwork, complex filing systems, and hours of signature chasing, using the Deputy News feed you can simply and quickly provide employees with a digital copy of their Good Faith Estimate before starting their first shift. 

Once you have published the GFE in the Deputy News feed, your employee will be notified by email and push notification. You can even request that they confirm the post before starting their first shift so that you will have a digital record of their consent to the Good Faith Estimate.

Provide hassle-free advance notice of schedules 

When you think of Fair Workweek, advance notice is likely one of the first things that come to mind. In the past, some hourly workers received their schedules for the week just before the start of their shift. 

Fair Workweek laws generally require employers to provide employees with schedules in a timely manner. The amount of advanced notice differs from city to city, but the idea is to provide greater stability for employees and their families.

Here’s what it looks like for someone using Deputy.

  • Step 1: Create your schedule. Forecast labor requirements using insights from preceding weeks and at the same time last year. Or, use pre-created templates to make this quick and easy.
  • Step 2: Publish the schedule. Forget clunky spreadsheets or paper pinned to the staff room wall. With Deputy, publish schedules to staff via email, SMS, and push notification at the click of a button. Then export to print so you can post a physical copy at your business. 
  • Step 3: Staff review their schedules. Employees can see their published schedules and check who they’re working on web or mobile at any time, or by checking any Deputy Kiosk Time Clock you have in your business.
  • Step 4: Employee-initiated shift swaps. Employees can swap shifts with each other at the tap of a button. If required, simply tag employees based on their experience, training, or suitability to work in a particular area of your business. Then qualified employees can accept shift swaps or pick up open shifts through Deputy.
  • Step 5: Manager-initiated changes. If manager-initiated changes are required within the advance notice period (it happens, we know), managers can quickly amend and re-publish the schedule to affected employees.

These employees will be immediately notified by push, SMS, and email, and will be required to confirm acceptance of the shift before clocking in, providing a digital record of acceptance and consent to the change.

Automate and regulate Predictability Pay 

Schedules sometimes have to change. And if the changes are made before the advance notice period, you’re all good as long as you notify your employees. But if changes are made after that time, you’ll need to pay a penalty fee to your employee.

Like most aspects of Fair Workweek, manually managing predictability pay — and staying compliant on top of that — is tough. One business said they used to create more than 25,000 pieces of paper each quarter to manage Fair Workweek compliance. And most of that paperwork was to track schedule changes and employee consents, and provide proof they had paid the appropriate Predictability Pay if required. 

Here are three ways Deputy helps you automate Predictability Pay.

  • Record changes in Deputy. Once a schedule is published, Deputy will dynamically track changes made within the advance notice period. If a change is made and the schedule re-published, Deputy will match the updated schedule against the original schedule to calculate the required premium and apply this directly to the employee’s timesheet if required.
  • Easily get consent. If a same-day change occurs, upon clocking out an employee will be prompted with a question as to whether the change was manager- or employee-initiated. If the employee attests the change was initiated by them, then Predictability Pay will be waived and a digital record of employee consent is captured. If the employee attests the change was manager-initiated, Predictability Pay will be applied. 
  • Notify managers for approval. When employees record that schedule changes were initiated by a manager, Deputy will flag the timesheet so the manager can approve and follow up with the employee if necessary.

Cut out the clopenings

Clopening might be a fun word to say, but it’s a big no-no when it comes to Fair Workweek. Clopening is when an employee closes, and then opens the next day with insufficient time to rest between shifts. 

While Deputy won’t hard-stop your managers from scheduling clopening shifts, it provides critical guard rails to help your business make smarter decisions that reduce risk and avoid the need for Predictability Pay. Here’s how.

  • Trigger alerts. If a manager attempts to schedule an employee for multiple shifts without adequate rest between (the hours required shifts vary by jurisdiction), a pop-up will warn them that the schedule will trigger a clopening penalty.
  • Easily choose the right person to fill a shift. Deputy’s auto-fill feature will fill your blank schedule with the best employees for the job in a single click. It recognizes the requirement for rest between shifts to avoid scheduling anyone in a way that will trigger a penalty.
  • Automate consent. If you must schedule an employee for shifts without the required rest, the employee must consent. Once again, by publishing the schedule with the requirement for employee confirmation, you can capture this consent and create a digital record of compliance behavior.

Make transparency easy

Under Fair Workweek laws, managers need to provide existing part-time employees with the opportunity to work more. That means that when shifts open up and extra hours are available, current staff should get a chance to claim them before additional employees are hired.

Using the News feed, managers and supervisors can simply create a post for all employees from one, or multiple locations, to inform them of the available hours. Interested employees simply reply to the post with a single click. As all replies can be seen on the News feed post, this ensures a transparent process for staff and management.

Not only does this provide a digital proof of record, but it’s simple, fast and effective because all employee details are already in Deputy, and each employee will be notified by push notification and email when the post is created.

Keep accurate records without the hassle

While training your managers and ensuring they schedule your team in a compliant manner is a must, being able to prove it to regulators when audited is equally as important. Adopting a digital workforce management solution like Deputy makes recordkeeping a breeze.

You may keep records for a few years, but do you know how long the law requires you to have them on hand? Under Fair Workweek, it’s usually up to three years. That includes being able to prove:

  • Hours worked each week
  • Shifts worked (date, time, and location)
  • Good faith estimates (and revised good faith estimates if required)
  • Clopening consents
  • Change of schedule consents
  • Each written schedule provided to workers
  • All premium payments or predictability payments made

In Deputy, all schedules are recorded, any change and associated employee consents are tracked, and every penalty payment captured. Copies of Good Faith Estimates and Access to Hours posts can also be provided, with proof of employee confirmation. 

This provides your business with key data required to prove your compliance behavior to auditors, and aids in protecting your business from significant fines.

Make compliance easier

When you use a workforce management solution like Deputy to manage Fair Workweek, you can reduce labor costs through smarter, data-driven scheduling. Plus, avoid payroll disputes using digital time clocks and active attestation, and most importantly reduce staff turnover and create a better customer experience by empowering your employees with the tools to manage their own schedules and make smarter decisions for your business.

Deputy offers powerful Fair Workweek solutions to customers on Deputy’s Enterprise plans. If your business is subject to Fair Workweek laws you want to know more about how Deputy can help, get in touch with one our Enterprise consultants today or sign up for a free trial.

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dom Newman
Dom can tell you everything you need to know about the latest and greatest at Deputy. He is the go to guy for new releases, product updates, and the local surf report.
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