Why Predictive Scheduling Is Good for Business

If you have hourly workers, you know their schedules can be hard to predict. Predictive scheduling can help you retain employees and attract new hires.
Shelbie Watts

An hourly employee’s schedule is often hard to predict. Historically, there has been little (or no) regulation requiring employers to provide advance notice of weekly and on-call shift scheduling, so workers struggle to anticipate pay, determine work hours, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Luckily some legislators are beginning to shed light on the issue of bad scheduling practices. City and state law requirements are beginning to trickle in that penalize business owners for failing to post schedules anywhere from 72 hours to several weeks in advance — this is called predictive scheduling.

As a business owner you may need to familiarize yourself with predictive scheduling laws in your area. However, it’s a good idea to implement the practice regardless of whether or not you’re legally bound to do so. Let’s take a look at what predictive scheduling is, what the laws are, and why it’s good for both your employees and your business.

What exactly is predictive scheduling?

Predictive scheduling is when an employer provides posted schedules to team members in advance. The practice benefits part-time employees who have fluctuating schedules but also gives full-time employees a chance to better estimate their cash flow and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Most predictive scheduling laws also require employers to give extra pay to employees if an employer changes the schedule, provide adequate rest periods between shifts, and keep all scheduling records for a certain amount of time.

Who has laws requiring predictive scheduling?

Oregon became the first — and so far, only — state to enact a predictive scheduling law in 2017. The Fair Workweek Law requires large businesses in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries to provide written schedules at least seven days in advance (this increases to 14 days in 2020).

The law also requires businesses to provide a good faith estimate of hours upon hiring and give workers a rest period of at least 10 hours between two shifts. If an employee opts to work that next shift without a break, they must be given predictability pay of time-and-a-half.

While Oregon is currently the only state with such a law, cities are following suit. San Francisco, Emeryville, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle all have citywide laws regarding predictive scheduling. All of the municipalities regulate hours, advance notice of work schedules, and predictability pay.

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How does predictive scheduling benefit my employees?

A study by The Shift Project at UC Berkeley highlighted just how much of an impact just-in-time and on-call scheduling practices have on employees.

Researchers surveyed hourly workers and asked them questions about their schedules, economic security, and general well-being. The data revealed that “routine uncertainty about when and how much an individual will work from day to day and week to week could lead to feelings of distress,” according to a press release.

An increase in schedule predictability leads to happier, healthier employees who are more likely to stay loyal to your business. A steady, predictable work life might even convince your team members to make a more permanent career of their hourly roles instead of using it as a stepping stone to something else.

How can my business benefit from predictive scheduling?

Implementing predictive scheduling can help your business save money because it reduces the frequency of “no-call-no-shows,” which can bring sales down and drive operational costs up. On average, businesses report losing around $633 a month because of employees not showing up for their shifts, which comes to $7,596 a year.

Remember that aforementioned employee loyalty that increases with predictive scheduling? That will save you money, too. An increase in loyalty translates to less frequent hiring, which is great, because employee turnover is expensive. According to Talent Management & HR, it costs around 30% to 50% of an entry-level employee’s annual pay to replace them.

That decrease in turnover also means your employees are better trained and more engaged. Studies have shown that engaged employees are 22% more productive, and businesses that are seen as highly engaged as a whole have double the success rate.

How do I implement predictive scheduling?

When it comes to practicing predictive scheduling, technology is your friend. Consider adopting tools that help you schedule, keep time, and run payroll all in one place. Scheduling apps, like Homebase, allow you to build schedules, send them to your team, and keep time, all in one place. Then when you’re ready to pay your team, you can import hours to a payroll processor that integrates with a scheduling app, like Square Payroll does with Homebase.

Predictive scheduling may sound daunting, but if you’ve got the right partners — like Homebase and Square — on your side, you can increase the happiness of your employees, stay compliant, and pad your bottom line with ease.

Shelbie is the Content Marketing Manager for Homebase. She works to provide relevant, informative and engaging material to local business owners and their employees.