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Starting Wednesday, July 1st, many Chicago employers will now have to comply with the city’s new “fair workweek” law. The goal of the bill is to require that employers give employees advance notice of their schedules and pay a premium for last-minute changes, as unpredictable schedules and uneven paychecks, make it hard to plan for child care, hold down a second job or pay bills.

Who is Covered by the Fair Workweek Law

  • Employees who work in healthcare and manufacturing as well as in restaurants, retail, hotels, warehouses and building services
  • Employees who make less than $26 an hour or $50,000 a year
  • Businesses with 100 or more employees, to nonprofits with more than 250 employees, to restaurants with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally, and to franchisees with four or more locations
  • There are exemptions for employees who work at ticketed events. Workplaces with collective bargaining agreements are exempt as long as the ordinance is explicitly waived in their contracts

What the Law Requires

  • Employers will have to give workers at least 14 days' advance notice of their schedules
  • If an employer changes a worker's schedule with less notice, it must give the worker an hour of "predictability pay" at the regular wage rate.
  • If an employer cancels or reduces hours within 24 hours of the start of a previously scheduled shift, it has to pay workers half of what they would have made had they worked.
  • Workers are not prevented from trading shifts or requesting changes to their schedule. Employers can also change an employee's hours without penalty when it is mutually agreed upon in writing.
  • Employers must offer existing part-time workers extra hours before hiring new people, meant to address underemployment that makes it hard for low-wage workers to make ends meet. If part-time workers decline the extra hours, employers must offer those hours to temporary or seasonal workers before hiring people.

For more information, please contact Joseph F. Spitzzeri, Genevieve M. LeFevour, Christopher J. Carlos, or Brian C. Langs.