Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek Ordinance Likely to Face Legal Challenge

Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek Ordinance Likely to Face Legal Challenge

December 19, 2018

On December 6, 2018, the Philadelphia City Council passed the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance, which will go into effect January 1, 2020. The ordinance, which Mayor Jim Kenney expects to sign into law, will require service and hospitality employers with 250 employees in 30 or more locations worldwide to provide workers with advance notice of their schedules and "predictability pay" if the schedules change. Covered employers include retail, hospitality, and food services establishments.

Upon hiring, covered employers are required to provide employees with a "written, good faith estimate" of employees' work schedules, which must include the average numbers employees can expect to work each week, whether employees should expect to work any on-call shifts, and a subset of days and times that employees can expect to work.

In 2020, covered employers will be required to post a work schedule no later than 10 days before the first day of any new schedule. Beginning in 2021, work schedules will need to be posted no later than 14 days before the first day of any new schedule. Changes to the posted schedules will require "predictability pay."

The ordinance guarantees at least nine hours of rest time between shifts. If an employee consents to a shorter rest period, the employee would be eligible for a $40 bonus payment. Additionally, employers will be required to offer available hours to existing employees before hiring new employees.

Philadelphia is not the first city to pass this sort of ordinance. New York City and Seattle both passed similar legislation. The New York City ordinance is being challenged in court by restaurant industry groups that argue the ordinance is preempted by state law. The groups seek a declaratory judgment that the ordinance is null and void. The Philadelphia ordinance is likely to face similar legal challenges.

Service and hospitality employers should take this time to examine current scheduling policies and procedures.

Our blogpost on the NYC ordinance is available here.