Explained: Chicago Fair Workweek Regulations

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Fair Workweek regulations are coming into force across the nation. These ‘predictive scheduling’ laws aim to promote flexibility for shift workers and protect against unfair scheduling practices.

The rules are complex and fines for violations are heavy.

A case from December 2017, involving minimum wage and overtime violations, showed the tough penalties in place and the willingness of the authorities to enforce employment law. An Italian restaurant in Chicago was ordered to pay $339,000 in fines and damages after paying non-tipped trainees as little as $3.75 an hour and failing to pay time-and-a-half to employees who worked over 40 hours a week.

On January 1 this year, Chicago City Council created a new department, The Office of Labor Standards, to “proactively investigate employers it believes could be violating labor laws”. On top of this, on July 1, 2020, new legislation comes into force with even stricter predictive scheduling laws and penalties.

It’s important for operators to be aware of these developments, but for now, we’ll focus on the current laws for restaurants and franchisees in Chicago. Among other headaches, shifts must be planned 14 days in advance and records must be immaculate to avoid costly fines.

And the fact these regulations vary significantly state-by-state makes it all the more difficult for restaurant groups who operate across multiple cities.

Many operators have put dedicated finance teams in place to identify violations and deal with penalties to ensure compliance. But this approach deals with the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause. 

What is needed is a holistic solution that tackles the root cause while also mitigating risks throughout the business, enabling all departments to consistently and proactively work together. 

Giving managers the power to use predictive scheduling effectively, minimizes violations and pushes any violation data straight to payroll to be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The result is greater efficiency and less stress for managers, more flexibility and protection for employees, and better results for the business – not only in terms of happy workers but in costs saved and embarrassment avoided.

Let’s take a look at the rules and penalties for the Windy City and then how Harri’s system deals with the many challenges they pose to fast food operators in the city.

Regulations for Chicago

Here’s an overview of the main regulations and related penalties that restaurant and fast-casual operators in Chicago should be aware of.

Good Faith Estimate

Employees must be provided with a Good Faith Estimate of:

  • The median number of hours they are expected to work in a workweek.

  • Whether they are expected to work on-call or not.

  • 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. 

An employee may request that the employer modify the estimated work schedule.

Right to Rest

Employees have the right to decline work hours scheduled:

  • Less than 11 hours after the end of the previous day's shift.

  • During the 11 hours following the end of a shift that spanned two days.

An employee who agrees in writing to work such hours must be compensated 1.5x their regular rate of pay for any hours worked less than 11 hours following the end of a previous shift.

Advanced Notice on Scheduling

  • Schedules must be provided two weeks in advance

  • New employees must be included in an existing schedule with other employees

  • Employees have the right to decline any previously unscheduled hours that the employer adds to the schedule with less than 14 days’ notice.

  • The employer is required to pay no less than 1.5x the employee's regular rate of pay per hour for any scheduled hours the employee does not work, if the employer, with less than 24 hours' notice:  

    • Subtracts hours from a regular or on-call shift.

    • Cancels a regular or on-call shift.

Predictability Pay for Schedule Changes

Predictability pay offers protection against last-minute schedule changes and is paid at the employee’s standard hourly rate.

The employer must pay the following penalties, for schedule changes with:

  • No change in number of hours:

    • One hour of predictability pay.

  •  Additional Hours

    • One hour of predictability pay.

  •  Subtracted Hours

    • More than 24 hours' notice: one hour of predictability pay.

    • Less than 24 hours' notice: at least 1.5x the employee's regular hourly rate for any scheduled hours.

On-call protection

  • More than 24 hours’ notice: At least 1.5x the employee's regular hourly rate for any scheduled hours.

  • Less than 24 hours’ notice: one hour of predictability pay.

Exceptions

The above requirements don’t apply under any of the following circumstances:

  • Operations cannot begin or continue due to:

    • Threats to employers, employees, or property.

    • Civil authorities recommending that work not begin or continue.

    • Failure of public utilities to supply electricity, water, or gas, or failure in the public utilities or sewer system.

    • Acts of nature (including but not limited to flood, fire, explosion, earthquake, tidal wave, drought), war, civil unrest, strikes, or a similar cause not within the employer's control.

  • A schedule change is the result of a mutually agreed upon shift trade or coverage arrangement between employees, subject to any existing employer policy regarding required conditions for employees to exchange shifts.

  • An employee requests a shift change in writing, including but limited to use of sick leave, vacation leave, or other policies offered by the employer.

Access to Hours for Existing Employees

This part of the legislation requires the employer to give fair and reasonable access to hours to existing and new employees. It sets out requirements for how hours are advertised so that they can be distributed fairly.

  • Before hiring new employees, the employer must offer additional hours of work to existing employees.

  • Employees have the right to refuse this work. An employee who wishes to accept the additional hours must do so in writing.

  • The employer must post written notice of available work shifts for at least three consecutive calendar days, unless a shorter posting period is necessary in order for the work to be timely performed. 

  • The offer must be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace where notices to employees are normally posted, or electronically on an internal website in a conspicuous location readily accessible to all employees.

  • The notice must include: 

    • The total hours of work being offered.

    • The schedule of available shifts.

    • Whether those shifts will occur at the same time each week.

    • the length of time the employer anticipates requiring coverage of the additional hours.

    • The process by which employees may notify the employer of their desire to work The offered hours.

    • An advisement that an employee may accept a subset of the shifts offered.

    • The criteria the employer will use for the distribution of the shifts. 

  • The employer may post the notice concurrently at the location where the shifts described in the notice will be worked, locations other than the location where the work is to be performed, and to external candidates.

Harri’s Intelligent Scheduling 

Harri’s intelligent scheduling system automatically keeps operators up-to-date with regulations, even across multiple jurisdictions. It helps you not only to actively comply with regulations, but also to use predictive scheduling to improve your business.

Here’s a rundown of the main features.

Good Faith Documentation

The system includes the following features to make employees aware of the Good Faith Schedule during onboarding:

  • The automatically generated Good Faith Estimate document provides new hires with a clear schedule in accordance with the local laws.

  • This is seamlessly integrated into the onboarding process for review and e-signature by the new hire. 

Direct Shift Swaps

Harri’s Hot Fill system allows employees to exchange shifts directly without employer involvement. The peer-to-peer shift exchange does not violate the above rules on shift swaps based on pay rate and overtime thereby avoiding late-change penalties.

Hot Fill - “Uber for your employees”

Here’s how it works:

  1. An employee is unable to attend work and they release the shift.

  2. Other employees have indicated they wish to work on that day if a shift becomes available (note, they are not “on-call”).

  3. The system alerts these employees via SMS and push notification. 

  4. The first employee to accept gets the shift.

  5. The manager on duty is notified of the employee’s ETA and distance from work.

This system offers more flexibility for employees and makes it far easier for managers to oversee a shift swap, all while avoiding costly late-change penalties.

Calculation of Right to Rest Compensation Payment

The Right to Rest regulation ensures employees adequate rest between shifts. Harri helps managers to comply by alerting them if this rule is violated when the schedule is created, or any time after it is created, so they can proactively make changes to the schedule.

Manager Alert for Penalties Related to Schedule Changes 

Managers have the ability to define compensation rules for changes after the advance notice period. Shift change premium pay is indicated on the schedule itself and included in the total wage cost calculations.

This means managers are fully aware of the cost impact of schedule changes before they put them in place so they are able to plan and make strategic decisions accordingly. It also makes it easy for the finance department to calculate the costs and pay the right amount to the employee.

Predictive Scheduling Premium Reporting

This feature provides managers with reports indicating, in detail, all the premium payments resulting from schedule changes. These can then be passed seamlessly to the finance department where they can be processed.

They can also be analyzed and scrutinized by management so that key decisions can be made on the company-wide scheduling policy to avoid future fines.

Make Sure Your Business is Protected

The best way to ensure compliance, at scale and across states and cities, is to use a holistic system designed for the purpose.

Harri’s smart scheduling tools simplify every stage of the process, dealing with the cause of the problem in order to minimize violations and streamline communication between departments, managers, and employees.

To see how you can use the system to protect your business and lead a happy, better-rested team, get started with Harri’s smart scheduling tools.

Learn more about Fair Workweek regulations in New York City and San Francisco.

Five Reasons to Start an Employee Referral Program

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Finding and keeping talent are two of the central struggles in the hospitality industry. A new feature in Harri’s service will help your organization overcome both challenges. Users will now have the ability to leverage their employee's social network with the capability of Harri's Employee Social Referral Program. The new feature will help companies maximize their external job posts’ visibility by facilitating an employee social referral program.

Here’s how it works: With the employee referral feature in the Spread the Work job page turned on, every time you post a new external job, all or a select group of employees is sent a URL to the job posting either via SMS text, email or both. Each URL sent to employees is unique so that if and when they share it on their own Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or WhatsApp accounts, the organization can collect information on how well the referral program is working. 

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For instance, hiring managers will be able to see a breakdown of stats by referring employee as well as how each social network ranks as far as clicks, applications, screened candidates, and hired employees. To facilitate deep dives or quick glances, these analytical reports are available in both table and bar graph view.

Read on to discover how an Employees Referral Program can greatly improve how your organization finds – and retains – talent.

  1. It taps into an underutilized pool of talent. If you’re only posting jobs to the typical job boards, you’re only advertising positions to the small group of people looking for work through those channels. When employees post about a job on their own social media account, that posting is being read by a large variety of people. What’s more, the job posting will also get in front of those who may not be actively searching for a new job but may be inspired to change positions if the right opportunity comes along.

  2. It attracts a different source of talent. Having your employees post job openings functions as a sort of endorsement for working with your organization. As your employees’ contacts are familiar with your employee, they are more likely to read and trust a job posting than if it just appeared on a general career site. Research shows that referred employees are a better fit right for the job from the start. Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% apply but this accounts for 40% of all hires. In recent research conducted by Dr. John Sullivan, 88% of employers said that referrals are the #1 best source for above-average applicants.

  3. It acts as a positive reward system for current employees. A key component in any employee referral program is incentivizing your current staff to participate. To that end, hiring managers should decide the monetary compensation amount, as well as a threshold that a newly referred employee must meet (i.e. 90 days past hire) in order for the referring employee to receive compensation. Make sure to set very clear timelines that referred candidates/employees must meet before referring employee is eligible for a reward.

  4. It maximizes job posting visibility. Having employees broadcast a job posting to their online connection makes the numbers work in your favor. Consider that on average, people have 7.6 social media accounts. Now consider that on Facebook, the average person has about 155 friends. If 25 of your employees share a job post on Facebook, 3,875 people will see it. And that number is far greater on Twitter where the average user has 707 followers. As part of Harri’s service, the Spread the Word page shows the percentage of how well you have maximized the job post visibility after sharing it to job boards, career sites, on the company’s social media accounts and with employees. 

  5. It results in longer retention rates. Employee referral hires are more likely to stay past that tricky 90-day time period when turnover is the highest. In general, referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay longer at companies. Studies show that 46% stay over 1 year, 45% over 2 years and 47% over 3 years. 

This could be because these new hires benefit from having a built-in support system as they already know someone within the organization. This connection also means they are more likely to have insight into the company’s culture and role expectations before beginning the work.

How Video Interviews Offer Better Insight and Convenience

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For the sake of time, many hiring managers may opt to conduct phone interviews over in-person meetings when vetting candidates for a position. Yet candidates are now able to submit video responses to interview questions that can be recorded and answered on their own time. Compared to phone interviews, video submissions provide more convenience for both interviewer and interviewee. What’s more, they can deliver the kind of valuable insight typical of a face-to-face meeting.

Why Video Matters

Again and again, research has proven that people’s nonverbal communication – for example, what they wear, how they wear their clothes, their facial expressions, body gestures, tone of voice, and posture – matters just as much as what is said in an interview. That’s because nonverbal cues affect how people understand what you are attempting to communicate.

For instance, behavior such as smiling and leaning forward is read as warmer and more engaged and ultimately, colors how the other person interprets what is being said. In short, our body and words work as a total package when communicating.

Such first impressions and non-verbal cues will be essential to candidates’ success on the job, particularly in the hospitality industry, where employees are either interacting with customers directly on a daily basis or working with others as part of a team to provide excellent customer service. A video interview can appropriately assess their demeanor and whether they’ll fit into the existing culture of the workplace.

Added Convenience

We are all familiar with the downsides of phone interviews. Consider that you have 25 candidates to vet – you must find an available time for both parties to connect and chat on the phone. This often means several back and forth emails and then last-minute rescheduling if something else comes up for each of the 25 candidates. Additionally, if the candidate is currently employed, they may have trouble finding a free (and quiet) 30 minutes to speak during work hours.

Likewise, coordinating to bring a series of candidates into the office for face-to-face interviews requires additional planning and expense – it’s best saved for when the decision is down to just a few people. Some candidates may not be able to devote the time to come to the office and sit for an on-site interview that is likely longer due to small talk. This may filter out qualified candidates are just strapped for time.

On the flip side, by sending candidates a question or two that they will answer via a recorded video response, they can find time after or before work to provide a thoughtful and focused response. There’s no time spent trying to sync packed schedules for either party. Hiring managers can also increase the number of candidates in the vetting cycle as sending out more video questions doesn’t require much extra time or resources. And because the video responses are brief and targeted, more candidates can be reviewed and considered, ultimately leading to a greater chance of finding a suitable hire.

Collaborated Review

In addition to removing some of the scheduling challenges of interviewing, video responses have big advantages in the review stage. Once the candidates submit their video responses, multiple people within the organization can easily review the candidates and provide feedback on whether they should progress to the next stage of the vetting process. The videos can also be replayed multiple times and compared as the pool of possible candidates is narrowed. 

Proof of Their Resourcefulness

Asking candidates to record a video response to an interview question means they can also be evaluated for how they are able to complete a straightforward task. It will prove they are able to give the response some thought, find time to record the video with intention, and understand technology to the extent that they can record the video and submitted.

As the majority of Americans have the right tools to turn their cameras on themselves in their quest to work with a brand, the time is right to roll out video interview questions on a large scale. According to Pew Research, 81% of people in the U.S. have smartphones and nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers.

With video interviews now offered by Harri, hiring manager will be able to find better talent faster by more efficient screening, increased collaboration, and a more engaged interaction.

Explained: San Francisco Fair Workweek Regulations

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Fair Workweek regulations are coming into force across the nation. These ‘predictive scheduling’ laws aim to promote flexibility for shift workers and protect against unfair scheduling practices.

The rules are complex and fines for violations are heavy.

In San Francisco, the law applies to ‘Formula Retail Establishments’ –  chains with more than 40 outlets worldwide, including bars, restaurants, and take-out shops, and more than 20 employees in the city. Among other headaches, shifts must be planned two weeks in advance and records must be immaculate to avoid costly fines.

Amongst other labor-related complexities faced in California, a Bay Area Thai establishment was ordered to pay over $170,000 after an investigation found it was paying employees a flat rate of daily or weekly pay, and not taking into account overtime hours.

The fact these regulations vary significantly state-by-state makes it all the more difficult for restaurant groups who operate across multiple cities.

Many operators have put dedicated finance teams in place to identify violations and deal with penalties to ensure compliance. But this approach deals with the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause. 

What is needed is a holistic solution that tackles the root cause while also mitigating risks throughout the business, enabling all departments to consistently and proactively work together. 

Giving managers the power to use predictive scheduling effectively, minimizes violations and pushes any violation data straight to payroll to be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The result is greater efficiency and less stress for managers, more flexibility and protection for employees, and better results for the business – not only in terms of happy workers but in costs saved and embarrassment avoided.

Let’s take a look at the regulations for San Francisco and then how Harri’s system solves the many problems they pose to employers in the city.

Regulations for San Francisco

Here’s an overview of the main regulations and related penalties restaurant and ‘Formula Retail Establishments’ in SF should be aware of.

Good Faith Estimate

On or before their first day, employers must provide new employees with:

  • The expected minimum number of scheduled shifts per month.

  • The days and hours of those shifts.

This does not need to include on-call shifts.

Advanced Notice on Scheduling

Schedules must be provided at least two weeks in advance and must include on-call shifts. 

If changes are made with less than seven days’ notice, employees must be paid a premium of one to four hours of pay at the regular hourly rate.

Predictability pay for additional hours:

  • Less than seven days’ but more than 24 hours’ notice: pay one hour

  • Less than 24 hours’ notice: 

    • Length change of four or fewer hours: pay two hours.

    • Length change of more than four hours: pay four hours.

On-call Protection

If they are not called in, the employee must be paid a premium of two to four hours pay at their regular rate.

Exceptions

Employers do not have to provide predictability pay or payment for on-call shifts if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Operations cannot begin or continue due to: threats to employees or property, failure of public utilities, an Act of God or other cause not within the employer's control (such as an earthquake).

  • Another employee previously scheduled to work that shift is unable to work and did not provide at least seven days' notice.

  • Another employee failed to report to work or was sent home.

  • The employer requires the employee to work overtime.

  • The employee trades shifts with another employee or requests a change in shifts.

Access to hours for existing employees

The employer must first offer the additional work to existing part-time employees if: 

  • The part-time employee is qualified to do the additional work, as reasonably determined by the employer; and

  • The additional work is the same or similar to work the employee has performed for the employer.

Harri’s Answer to Fair Workweek Complexities

Harri’s intelligent scheduling system automatically keeps operators up-to-date with regulations, even across multiple jurisdictions. It helps you not only to actively comply with regulations, but also to use predictive scheduling to improve your business.

Here’s a rundown of the main features.

Good Faith Scheduling Support

The system includes the following features to make employees aware of the Good Faith Schedule during onboarding:

  • The automatically generated Good Faith Estimate document provides new hires with a clear schedule in accordance with the local laws.

  • This is seamlessly integrated into the onboarding process for review and e-signature by the new hire. 

Direct Shift Swaps

Harri’s Hot Fill system allows employees to exchange shifts directly without employer involvement. The peer-to-peer shift exchange does not violate the above rules on shift swaps based on pay rate and overtime thereby avoiding late-change penalties.

Hot Fill - “Uber for your employees”

Here’s how it works:

  1. An employee is unable to attend work and they release the shift.

  2. Other employees have indicated they wish to work on that day if a shift becomes available (note, they are not “on-call”).

  3. The system alerts these employees via SMS and push notification.

  4. The first employee to accept gets the shift.

  5. The manager on duty is notified of the employee’s ETA and distance from work.

This system offers more flexibility for employees and makes it far easier for managers to oversee a shift swap, all while avoiding costly late-change penalties.

Calculation of Right to Rest Compensation Payment

The Right to Rest regulation ensures employees adequate rest between shifts. Harri helps managers to comply by alerting them if this rule is violated when the schedule is created, or any time after it is created, so they can proactively make changes to the schedule.

Manager Alert for Penalties Related to Schedule Changes 

Managers have the ability to define compensation rules for changes after the advance notice period. Shift change premium pay is indicated on the schedule itself and included in the total wage cost calculations.

This means managers are fully aware of the cost impact of schedule changes before they put them in place so they are able to plan and make strategic decisions accordingly. It also makes it easy for the finance department to calculate the costs and pay the right amount to the employee.

Predictive Scheduling Premium Reporting

This feature provides managers with reports indicating, in detail, all the premium payments resulting from schedule changes. These can then be passed seamlessly to the finance department where they can be processed.

They can also be analyzed and scrutinized by management so that key decisions can be made on the company-wide scheduling policy to avoid future fines.

Make Sure Your Business is Protected

The best way to ensure compliance, at scale and across states and cities, is to use a holistic system designed for the purpose.

Harri’s smart scheduling tools simplify every stage of the process, dealing with the cause of the problem in order to minimize violations and streamline communication between departments, managers, and employees.

To see how you can use the system to protect your business and lead a happy, better-rested team, get started with Harri’s smart scheduling tools.

Learn more about Fair Workweek regulations in New York City and Chicago.


Compeat Partners with Harri to Expand Workforce Management Tools for Hospitality Brands

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Today we announced our partnership with Compeat, the leading provider of integrated restaurant accounting, back office, workforce, and intelligence management software, to provide mutual clients a more integrated and seamless experience. 

This partnership will enable operators to manage the end-to-end aspects of hiring, onboarding, inventory, business intelligence, accounting and other mission critical areas of the business.  This best-in-class approach, to connect the multiple dimensions of operational activities, will enhance the customer experience and drive positive business outcomes for shared clients. 

“In an industry plagued with unmanageable turnover rates, hospitality brands need to invest in new ways to attract talent and retain it for the long-term,” said Joe Miliziano, COO  Harri. “We look forward to partnering with Compeat with our suite of hiring technology to help mutual clients find and retain the best talent, allowing them to grow their businesses through the most important asset for any restaurant or hospitality brand, its people.”

“Partnering with Harri makes perfect sense because both Harri and Compeat focus on easing the hospitality industry’s biggest pain points,” states Kristi Turner, CMO of Compeat. “Coupling Harri’s ability to attract the best talent with Compeat’s innovative accounting, back office, workforce and business intelligence solutions will revolutionize the way that restaurants operate.”