A new employer obligation to provide predictable scheduling?

With no statutory authorization or track record of earlier Department of Labor involvement — not that that’s stopped them in the past — the Obama Administration’s hyper-activist Wage and Hour Division may be exploring ways to deploy the New Deal-era Fair Labor Standards Act to develop a new set of employer obligations to avoid unpredictable scheduling demands on employees, the better to pursue work-life balance [Doug Hass, Wage and Hour Insights] Earlier on wage and hour law here.


  • Yes, by all means DOL – let’s find some way to create such a requirement where none exists. How about instead we work to update the regulations to better reflect the workplace in 2015? The FLSA was passed in 1938 and bears NO relation to how the workplace operates today. Of course, the reason for the DOL’s “efforts?” – ahhh yes, thanks to Obamacare and this stagnant job growth economy, they have to make p/t work more palatable.

  • The issue is that variable scheduling, in practice, means “you need to be available for 8 hours a day but we might only pay you for 3 of them, definitely not more than 6. Oh, and if we call and you aren’t available you’re fired immediately.” How are you supposed to do anything with that? What, you’ll just sit around the house waiting for Wendy’s to phone you? This isn’t brain surgery here, you’re not gonna have to go flip an emergency burger.

    The only reason this practice exists is that poor people have no other options than to put up with it, because fast-food jobs are pretty much the only ones low-skilled people can have anymore. It’s entirely exploitative.

    • Maybe there’s an issue, but there’s always a problem when a bureaucracy decides to invent new rules out of thin air. If you want this to be a law, pass a law.

  • A reasonable compromise might be that employees get half-pay ( at least up to half minimum wage) for time they are required to be on call.

  • This is becoming a problem in hospital employment – having nurses either on call for increased census, or, worse, arriving for scheduled shift only to be “waned off” for low census. No pay – no way to schedule alternative employment at another service of facility.

  • I note that none of the comments below mine address the fact that the FLSA does not provide a right to predictable scheduling. If it’s such a good idea, propose a new law.