By: Jessica Jackler
On July 24, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, which will require covered employers to provide covered employees with a predictable work schedule. The purpose of the ordinance is to provide Chicago employees with protections that ensure employer scheduling practices do not unreasonably prevent workers from attending to their families, health, education and other personal and familial obligations.
The bill will become effective July 1, 2020, and applies to employees who work at least two hours in a two-week period within the City of Chicago’s boundaries. Certain salaried employees are considered exempt from the ordinance’s coverage. The ordinance covers employers with 100 or more employees with at least 50 covered employees who either: (1) maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago; or (2) have at least thirty locations globally and have employees working within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago; or (3) are subject to one or more of certain City-licensing requirements. The ordinance covers employees who earn less than $26 per hour or receive a salary of under $50,000 per year.
There are some noteworthy exceptions to employer coverage. For example, the ordinance will only apply to restaurants and non-profits if they have a total of at least 250 employees and meet certain other requirements.
Advance Notice of Work Schedules
Upon commencement of employment, the ordinance will require covered employers to provide employees a good faith estimate in writing of the employee’s work schedule including:
1. the median number of weekly work hours the employee can expect to work each week;
2. whether the employee can expect to work any on-call shifts; and
3. a subset of days and a subset of times or shifts that the employee can expect to work, or days of the week and times or shifts on which the employee will not be scheduled to work.
Prior to or upon commencement of employment, the employee may request that the employer modify the estimated work schedule, which the employer may accept or reject in its sole discretion in writing prior to beginning employment.
Additionally, an employer must provide employees with at least 10 days’ written notice of their upcoming work schedules. The notice period will increase to 14 days in 2022. The work schedules must be posted in a conspicuous place that is readily accessible and visible to all employees, unless an employee specifically requests electronic notification.
If an employer adds hours to an employee’s schedule after the notice period, the ordinance permits employees to decline the additional work time. If the employee agrees to the additional work time, the employer would be required to pay “predictability pay,” an additional hourly rate based on the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Employers would be required to offer additional work hours to existing employees before hiring new employees.
An employer may be subject to a $1,000 fine for retaliating against an employee who exercises rights protected under the ordinance. Further, the ordinance imposes a $300 penalty for each employee affected in each pay period as a result of an employer’s failure to properly provide notice or keep required records.