Predictive scheduling meets flexible scheduling in Vermont-feature

A number of states and cities have passed predictive scheduling laws that mandate how employers can schedule employees. These laws are also commonly referred to as restrictive or advanced scheduling laws. Vermont has not passed a full-fledged predictive scheduling law. However, the Green Mountain State has passed a workplace regulation that is closely related to predictive scheduling laws and sometimes referred to as a lighter version of it.

Vermont’s “Flexible Working Arrangements” law is a piece of legislation that has been in place since 2014. The main focus of the bill is to protect employees from retaliation and enable them to request certain scheduling changes from their employers. The law does not obligate employers grant their requests, but it does establish a “framework for meaningful workplace dialogue.”

A Quick Look At Flexible Working Arrangements

According to the law, a “flexible working arrangement” is an intermediate or long-term schedule change made to the employee’s regular schedule. Changes that might fall under this category in include:

  • Changes in the number of hours or days worked
  • Changes in the time the employee arrives or departs
  • A work-from-home situation
  • A job-sharing arrangement

Employees interested in discussing the arrangement with their employers are invited to make the request in writing or verbally. The employer is then required to discuss that proposal in “good faith” and the discussion can take place in person or over the telephone.

The law then requires that employer to provide the employee with a notice of their decision in the same format as the initial request. If the employee requested the change in writing, then the employer must respond in writing.

Additionally, the law recommends a number of considerations that the employer should take into account:

  • The monetary cost from making any adjustment
  • The effect on employee morale
  • The effect on the ability to meet consumer demand
  • The ability or inability to reorganize work among existing staff
  • The ability or inability to hire additional staff
  • Any detrimental impact on business quality
  • An insufficient amount of work during the periods the employee requests
  • Any planned structural changes to the business

Vermont and New Hampshire have very similar flexible scheduling bills in play and employers should take the hint: this is a trend that is pushing towards more regulation, not less. It’s important that businesses prepare for what will likely be a renewed effort to pass predictive scheduling laws in the northeast. With New York joining cities like San Francisco and Seattle, it wouldn’t be shocking to find Burlington jumping into the mix. These laws are a compliance nightmare and businesses that don’t partner with the right technology firm will be sure to suffer fines and penalties.

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