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Franchisors and franchisees: Beware of the “fair workweek laws” coming to city or state where you operate. The failure to comply could cost your business millions of dollars in fines, not to mention additional wages for the affected employees. Fair workweek laws, also known as “predictive scheduling laws,” are relatively new phenomena throughout the United States. These laws generally require large food and retail establishments to provide predictable work schedules and additional compensation for certain types of schedule changes and shifts. They are particularly designed to address problems associated with “on-call scheduling,” a workforce management method that requires hourly workers to work unpredictable schedules to accommodate influxes of customers at irregular times.

New York City’s version of fair workweek laws became effective on Nov. 26, 2017. In addition to New York City, franchisors and franchisees in the San Francisco, Emeryville and San Jose, Calif., the state of Oregon, Seattle and SeaTac, Wash., and Chicago, Ill., are facing new complexities with wage and hour compliance due to fair workweek laws. Los Angeles and Boston are currently considering fair workweek legislation, and Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have also seen fair workweek legislation proposed at the state level. Other jurisdictions, however, such as Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa and Tennessee, have passed laws preempting fair workweek legislation.

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