New Hampshire lawmakers have given employers of the Granite State a very clear indicator that they mean business when it comes to labor regulations. For over a year now, New Hampshire has put in place restrictions on the scheduling relationship between employees and their employers. While lawmakers have yet to pass a full battery of scheduling regulations like some municipalities throughout the country, they have passed significant legislation that sends a very clear signal that they are ready and willing to do so. That signal came in the form of Senate Bill 416.
Otherwise known as the Flexible Working Arrangement Law, SB 416 provides protection to employees that wish to discuss a flexible scheduling plan with employers. Flexible scheduling is sometimes included in predictive scheduling laws and enables employees to structure their working hours around certain known life events such as a university night course. The idea is that an unpredictable schedule can constrain employees and prevent them from further developing themselves. The New Hampshire law does not require employers to provide flexible scheduling to employees, it simply protects them from any punitive termination in response to their request.
A Warning Of What Is To Come?
Businesses should take note since this legislation is likely only the beginning. During the bill’s debate, a number of amendments were proposed but not passed. For example, some lawmakers wanted to include a minimum 4 hour pay rule that would force employers to pay employees at least 4 hours worth of wages regardless of how long they worked. Others wanted additional provisions to prevent employers from turning down flexible scheduling requests – such as having to provide a specific business-related reason in writing.
Additionally, lawmakers are considering an additional piece of legislation, House Bill 1222, submitted by state representative Janet Schmidt. The bill would prevent businesses from asking employees certain questions during the interview process. The bill’s primary purpose is to prevent employers from asking what potential employees earned during their past employment.
Preparing For Potential Changes Down The Line
For now, employers should meet with employees that make requests for flexible scheduling and promptly give them an answer. In preparation for the future, businesses might consider whether they should use an employee management system, like the one offered by Deputy. If New Hampshire follows the path of Oregon this is just the first step. Already cities across the country are turning to predictive scheduling. From San Francisco to Seattle and from Seattle to New York, predictive scheduling is the restrictive reality that businesses face. In order to properly prepare for any labor regulations, proactivity is always the best course of action. An affordable and comprehensive solution will make any transition as seamless as possible.
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