Earlier this week, on July 1st, 2020, Chicago enacted the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance. Coming at the same time as an increase in the minimum wage, the Ordinance supports and enforces workers’ rights to a fair and predictable schedule. The Ordinance requires certain employers to post schedules 10 days in advance and pay employees extra for sudden schedule changes, plus a couple of other requirements. Do the new scheduling requirements apply to your business? What even are they? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
What Employees Are Covered by the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance?
We’ll get to what the Ordinance does in a second. First, we need to set some context. To start, what employees does the Ordinance apply to? A worker qualifies as a Covered Employee if they meet all of the following criteria:
- They work as an employee (as opposed to a contractor).
- They work in one of seven “Covered” industries (Building Services, Healthcare, Hotels, Manufacturing, Restaurants, Retail, and Warehouse Services).
- They spend the majority of their time working in Chicago.
- Their base wages amount to less than $26/hour or $50,000/year.
Do the Scheduling Requirements Apply to My Business?
To be covered by the Ordinance, employees must also work for certain kind of employer. Their employer must:
- Employ 50+ employees in Chicago, all of whom meet the above criteria
- Employ 100+ employees across all its locations.
- For non-profits, this number is 250+.
- For franchise restaurants, this number is 250+. The employer must also have 30+ locations and at least 4 in Chicago.
- Be primarily engaged in one of seven “Covered” industries (Building Services, Healthcare, Hotels, Manufacturing, Restaurants, Retail, and Warehouse Services).
If this describes your business, then the new scheduling requirements might apply to you.
What Does the Ordinance Mean for My Business?
With the groundwork set, we finally arrive at the meat of the matter. What does the Ordinance do? If you employ a Covered Employee (i.e. both the employee and your business meet the above criteria), the Ordinance imposes these scheduling requirements:
You must provide the following:
- A notice about the Fair Workweek with an employee’s first covered paycheck. You can find the notice here.
- The same notice in all communal areas.
- A written estimate of days and hours of work prior to or upon employment.
- Work schedules with 10 days’ notice.
You must provide extra pay in the following circumstances:
- You must pay an additional hour’s wages for any schedule changes with less than 10 days’ notice.
- You must also pay half of a worker’s wages for hours cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
- You must pay 1.25 times a base pay for any worker’s shift that starts within 10 hours after the previous day’s shift ended.
In addition, the Ordinance grants Covered Employees the following rights:
- Workers can decline unscheduled hours.
- Workers can decline hours that start within 10 hours after the previous day’s shift ended.
What Happens if the Ordinance is Violated?
Employers who fail to uphold their responsibilities under the Ordinance are subject to a fine ($300 – $500 per offense). Employees can submit a complaint to the BACP, whereupon employers can either contest or cure the alleged violation.
How Does COVID-19 Affect the Scheduling Requirements?
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic rather complicates things. Should the pandemic worsen and Governor Pritzker reimpose a shelter-at-home order, your employees’ hours would change overnight. Under the original Ordinance, you would be responsible for the “Predictability Pay” that accompanies schedule changes made without proper notice.
Fortunately, the BACP thought of that. They amended the rules to make room for schedule changes directly attributable to the pandemic. You can read the COVID-19 amendment here. It’s short, but references the complete Ordinance, available in its entirety here.
If you still have questions, email us! You can also look for answers in resources from the BACP and Department of Labor:
- Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance
- Fair Workweek Rules
- Fair Workweek Notice (must be posted in communal areas and provided to employees prior to or upon employment)
- COVID-19 Rule