Work Schedule Laws in California

It’s Friday night and, after a long week at work, you’re ready to have a relaxing weekend. Just as you’re about to lie down on the couch, however, your phone starts to buzz. It’s a text from your manager.

The message says, “I need you to come in tomorrow morning.” “But I’m off,” you reply. “Not anymore. I had to move the schedule around a little. You need to come in at 8:00 a.m.” is the response.

“That’s not fair!” you protest. Your manager tells you, “It is what it is. See you tomorrow.” 

Unfortunately, many workers are all too familiar with this scenario. It’s incredibly frustrating when an employer changes your schedule at the last minute.

At Workplace Rights Law Group, we know that these changes force employees to alter their plans, find childcare and lose rest. Last-minute schedule changes are a nuisance, but you may also be wondering if they are legal?

Predictive Scheduling Laws

The problems associated with improper work schedules are starting to get some attention. Several jurisdictions have considered passing predictive scheduling laws to give employees a better quality of life with more predictable schedules.

These laws typically require employers to post schedules days or weeks in advance. This advance notice allows employees to plan ahead and ensure they are not scrambling at the last minute.

Oregon, for example, is one of the first states to pass a predictive scheduling law. Under Oregon law, employers must give employees at least 14 days’ notice of their schedule.

The schedule must also be easily visible and include all shifts.

California Labor Laws: Schedule Change

Although California legislators have proposed statewide predictive scheduling laws, none of these bills have passed so far. Some California cities have taken the matter into their own hands.

San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, and Emeryville have all passed predictive scheduling ordinances over the past few years. Other cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, are currently discussing these laws as well.

In San Francisco, the Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (FRERO) require employers to pay workers a premium for scheduling changes made with less than seven days’ notice.

The Emeryville ordinance requires employers to post schedules at least 14 days before the first shift. These local ordinances may be the start of a growing trend in California.

California has other laws that protect shift workers. For example, California requires employers to pay employees a differential for working split shifts.

Split shifts occur when an employer asks a worker to work two or more shifts on the same day. The differential is equivalent to one hour of work at the California minimum wage.

However, the split shift differential does not apply to workers who voluntarily pick up extra shifts. California also has its minimum wage laws.

In addition, non-exempt California workers may also be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.

Some employers do not create schedules fairly or with honest intentions. California’s workplace discrimination laws may come into play when an employer changes a schedule due to a worker’s race, gender, or religion. 

Federal Predictive Scheduling Laws

Like California, the federal government has yet to pass any predictive scheduling laws. This, however, is not for lack of trying. Several predictive scheduling bills have gone through Congress, but none have passed.

This could change depending on the makeup of Congress in the near future.

Federal law does offer some protections to California workers. For example, Federal minimum wage laws apply to non-exempt employees, although the federal rate is lower than California’s.

The federal government also requires overtime pay for non-exempt employees working over 40 hours.

For workers who need to miss a shift due to a medical issue or the birth of a child, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may offer some protection.

The FMLA provides up to twelve workweeks of leave for the birth of a child, a serious medical condition, or to care for a worker’s spouse, child, or parent.

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There may not be statewide or nationwide predictive scheduling laws yet, but that does not mean you don’t have rights. As a worker, you deserve fair treatment.

If you believe your employer has been cheating you out of overtime, used schedules as a form of discrimination, or otherwise violated your rights, we want to help.

Our mission at the Workplace Rights Law Group is to fight for workers. Our skilled and experienced employment law attorneys are well-versed in state and federal labor laws.

If your employer has been doing something illegal, we can help you get to the bottom of it. Contact us today for your free case review.

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