On the federal, state, and municipal levels, governments are looking at potential legislation that would affect the way foodservice establishments schedule employees for work.


Just as recently as last week, New York’s city council held a hearing to discuss bills that would mandate predictive scheduling for restauranteurs and retailers. These businesses would be required to publish work schedules at least two weeks in advance and to provide a schedule change premium when hours are changed after required notices. Another bill being discussed would prohibit on-call scheduling for retail employees.


The bills being discussed in New York City, as well as in cities across the country, are controversial in that they create very specific challenges to these establishments. While governments are seeking to help employees better balance personal and work lives, predictive scheduling causes concern for employers whose daily business is unpredictable.


Customer flow on any given day can be determined by a number of factors, including season, customer demand, weather, holidays, and much more. Foodservice businesses don’t always require the same number of workers week to week, which is why schedules can vary week to week.


In the past, Congress has introduced legislation for predictive scheduling, although it has not made a great deal of progress and is currently in committee. It is expected that if predictive scheduling were to make headway on a federal level, state and local governments would not be far behind.