July 25, 2019

Inside Chicago’s Move Toward a ‘Fair Workweek’: Key Dates and Details for Employers

On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance, which would require Chicago employers in certain industries to provide their employees with at least two weeks’ notice of their work schedules.

The metropolis now joins Oregon, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle in the growing list of states and cities enacting workweek scheduling ordinances. But Chicago is setting its sights higher and targeting a broader scope of industries, with the aim to make life more predictable for workers.

How Will Employers Be Affected?

The ordinance requires employers to provide new hires with a written, good-faith estimate of the hours and days the individual will work for the first 90 days. Starting July 1, 2020, employers must provide employees a minimum of 10 days’ notice of their work schedules. Starting July 1, 2022, employers must provide employees with a minimum of two weeks’ notice of their work schedules.

The ordinance provides for “predictability pay,” which amounts to an hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate should the employer change the employee’s schedule less than two weeks’ before they are set to work. This includes situations where the employer:

  • Adds time to the employee’s schedule.
  • Changes the date or time of the shift (even when there is no loss of hours).
  • Cancels a shift or reduces hours.

Employees will receive predictability pay if the employer cancels or reduces hours within 24 hours of the schedule start, amounting to half of what the employee would have earned during the shift.

Employees may still trade shifts or mutually agree to change the schedule with the employer. Employees also may decline a shift that starts less than 10 hours after the end of a shift. If the employee consents to such a shift, the employer must get written consent from the employee or they are required to pay time and a half for the shift.

What Is the Scope of the Ordinance?

The ordinance covers employees in the following industries: health care, warehouse services, hotels, building services, retail, restaurants and manufacturing. Temporary workers in those industries also are covered by the ordinance. For employers in covered industries, the ordinance applies to hourly employees who make $26 per hour or less and salaried employees who make less than $50,000 per year.

As far as employers go, the ordinance applies to:

  • Companies with 100 or more employees, 50 of whom are eligible to be covered by the ordinance based on their wage rate.
  • Restaurants with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally.
  • Franchisees with four or more locations.
  • Nonprofits with more than 250 employees.

There are exceptions for certain industries under certain circumstances, such as when a reduction in hours is due to discipline of an employee for just cause or in the health care industry for major disasters, high-demand times or demand for special services.

Employers should consider what measures they will need to implement to ensure they can meet predictive scheduling requirements, including modifying hiring procedures, revising attendance policies and practices, training supervisors, and considering whether to hire additional personnel.

If you have any questions about this ordinance, we encourage you to consult with legal counsel.

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