News & Insight

Chicago City Council Passes “Fair Workweek Ordinance”: Here’s What Restaurant and Healthcare Employers Need to Know

On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved the Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), designed to enforce predictable shifts for lower wage employees across a wide range of industries. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a supporter of the bill, is expected to sign the Ordinance into law in the upcoming weeks. Once signed, the Ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2020.

Below, we provide a recap of some the Ordinance’s key provisions:

Covered Industries  The Ordinance covers the following industries: building services, health care, hotels, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and warehouse services. Restaurants covered by the Ordinance are only those with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally. Those with three or fewer locations in Chicago, owned by a single employer, and operating under a sole franchise are not covered. Notably, Chicago’s Ordinance is the first legislation of this kind to include workers in the health care industry. Private hospitals with more than 100 employees and non-profit hospitals with more than 250 employees are covered, so long as they employ at least 50 individuals who meet certain wage requirement s discussed schedule.

Covered Employees  Employees whose salaries are less than or equal to $50,000/year or whose hourly wage is less than or equal to $26.00/hour are covered. These wage amounts will increase yearly in proportion to the Consumer Price Index.

Advance Notice of Work Schedules  When hiring a covered employee, the employer must provide the employee with an estimate of projected work days and hours for the first 90 days of employment. From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022, an employer must provide an employee with at least 10 days’ advanced notice of work schedules. Starting July 1, 2022, an employer must provide an employee with at least 14 days’ advanced notice.

Schedule Changes  Covered employees have the right to decline a change to their work schedules if made less than 10 days before the start of a new schedule until June 30, 2022. Starting July 1, 2022, employees may exercise this right for any changes made less than 14 days before the start of a new schedule.

Extra Pay for Schedule Changes  A covered employee will receive their regular rate of pay plus one hour of extra pay for each shift in which the employer, without sufficient advanced notice, (a) adds hours of work, (b) changes the date or time of a shift, or (c) cancels or subtracts hours from a regular on-call shift with more than 24 hours’ notice. Employers will pay no less than 50% of an employee’s regular rate of pay for a shift canceled or reduced with less than 24 hours’ advanced notice

Right to Rest   A covered employee has the right decline a shift that is less than 10 hours after the end of the previous days shift. If an employee works that shift, the employee will be paid 1.25x their regular rate of pay. Additionally, an employee has the right to request a modified work schedule.

Exceptions  Healthcare employers may make schedule changes without advanced notice in cases of emergencies, patient care requiring specialized skills, or substantial unexpected increases in demand beyond the employer’s control. All other employers may make shift changes without advanced notice in the event of workplace threats, public utility problems, civil unrest, and acts of nature, among other instances. Notably, exceptions also apply when there are arrangements between covered employees, the employer and covered employee mutually agree in writing, and pursuant to disciplinary action of an employee.

Enforcement  Employers in covered industries who violate the Ordinance can face fines of $300 – $500 for each offense. Each covered employee and each day a violation occurs will constitute a separate offense.

Upon passage of the Ordinance, Chicago will join a growing number of cities that have adopted similar legislation intended to protect workers from unpredictable hours, while inescapably placing new demands on businesses. HMBR is available to provide specific advice on how passage of this Ordinance may affect your scheduling policies and procedures. Should you like assistance, please contact HMBR at 312-946-1800.

  Jul 29, 2019  |  By    |   On Firm News