Connections for Success



Chicago’s New Fair Workweek Ordinance: Get Ready for Predictive Scheduling
Brian R. Israel

Recently, Chicago joined the growing ranks of cities that have enacted “fair workweek” ordinances. These ordinances are designed to ensure more predictable work shifts for employees in certain industries, including restaurants. This allows employees to maximize their income while maintaining a work-life balance. Chicago’s ordinance — effective July 1, 2020 — strives to accomplish this goal by requiring employers to provide employees with at least 10 days’ advance notice of their work schedules and to compensate them for last-minute changes.

Which Restaurants Are Covered?

The ordinance applies to restaurants with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally, at least 50 of whom are “covered employees.” Covered employees are those who:

  • Are either employees, as opposed to independent contractors, or temporary employees who have been on assignment to the employer for at least 420 hours in an 18-month period;
  • Spend the majority of their time working in restaurants within the city; and
  • Earn no more than $50,000 per year as salaried employees or $26 per hour as hourly employees.

The ordinance does not affect the terms of collective bargaining agreements in place on the effective date. A collective bargaining agreement may expressly waive the ordinance’s requirements.

What is required?

If your restaurant is subject to the ordinance, beginning on July 1, 2020, you must provide covered employees with at least 10 days’ advance notice of their work schedules, including shifts and on-call status, by posting schedules and transmitting them electronically to employees who so request. On July 1, 2022, the notice period increases to 14 days. The notice requirement does not apply to employees who self-schedule or work in venues with a capacity of at least 5,000 people that regularly hold ticketed events.

If you add hours to a covered employee’s schedule after the deadline, the employee has the right to decline the previously unscheduled hours. In addition, if you change a covered employee’s schedule after the deadline, then in addition to the employee’s regular pay, that individual is entitled to one hour of “predictability pay,” at the regular rate, for each shift in which you 1) add hours; 2) change the date or time of the shift with no loss of hours; or 3) cancel or subtract hours from a regular or on-call shift with more than 24 hours’ notice. If you cancel or subtract hours with less than 24 hours’ notice (including during a shift), employees are entitled to at least 50 percent of their regular rate for the lost hours. There are exceptions for employees who trade shifts or request schedule changes, as well as changes caused by unforeseen circumstances.

A “right to rest” provision allows covered employees to decline hours that are scheduled less than 10 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift. If they choose to work those hours, they are entitled to receive 1.25 times the regular rate for that shift.

Other provisions include requirements to 1) provide newly hired covered employees with a good faith written estimate of their projected schedules for the first 90 days of employment; and 2) fill additional shifts by first offering them to existing, qualified covered employees (unless it would trigger overtime pay) before offering them to temporary or seasonal workers.

For more information, contact Brian Israel at [email protected] or 312.670.7444. Visit to learn more about our Restaurant Group.

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