NYC Predictive Scheduling Law Upheld by State Court

February 21, 2020

A state court has held New York City's Fair Workweek Law, which governs how fast-food and retail employers set their employees’ hours, is not preempted by the state’s wage and hour laws.

The Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect in November 2017, mandates that certain fast food and retail employers in New York City must give workers:

  • Good faith estimates of when and how much they will work,
  • Predictable work schedules,
  • Premium pay for schedule changes, and
  • The opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers.

Distorts capitalism?  Judge Arthur F. Engoron reluctantly upheld the law, noting that while “it appears to be a well-intentioned effort to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation,” it also “distorts capitalism; and is surprisingly complex, arguably unwieldy, and only problematically enforceable.  But the city has enacted it.”

Six cities and one state have predictive scheduling laws.  In addition to New York City, including Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and the state of Oregon have passed similar laws.

Looking ahead:  New Jersey, California and Los Angeles, among other jurisdictions, are also considering predictive scheduling laws.  If more cities and states pass these measures, employers will have to either tailor their policies to each geographic region with a law or adopt a universal policy based on the most restrictive requirements they operate under.