‘Predictive scheduling’ cuts turnover, ups productivity, experts say

By Jamie Herzlich


Inconsistent work schedules in certain industries, such as retail and food services, make it difficult for many employees, particularly low-wage workers, to hold second jobs or plan ahead for child care.

That’s one of the primary arguments driving various states and municipalities to implement so-called “predictive scheduling” legislation that generally requires employers to give a certain amount of advance notice to employees of their work schedules and compensate them if those schedules are changed.

It may just make good business sense to improve scheduling practices. “It decreases absenteeism, increases productivity and also reduces turnover,” says Pronita Gupta, director of the Job Quality policy team at the Washington-based Center for Law and Social Policy.

Inadequate notice “makes it really hard for workers to make any other plans,” she says, noting the biggest challenge is arranging child care. If employees have enough notice, they can make other accommodations.

Look at laws in other localities as a benchmark to perhaps make changes.

“As these policies get crafted, you can use that to help inform yourself on what’s right for your business,” Gupta says.


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