New Georgia Law Preempts Predictive Scheduling Ordinances
Georgia’s Minimum Wage Law (O.C.G.A. § 34-4-1 et seq.) already prohibits local governments from requiring employers to pay employees a wage rate that exceeds what is required under state or federal law. This same law also prohibits local governments from requiring employers to provide employment benefits not otherwise required by state or federal law. And on May 8, 2017, Governor Nathan Deal signed a law that adds an amendment further prohibiting Georgia localities from passing “predictive scheduling” ordinances.
Predictive scheduling legislation (also called “fair workweek” legislation) requires employers to compensate employees for schedule changes that affect their work schedules when the employees are not given proper notice (typically ranging from two to four weeks). In other words, if an employer were to remove an employee from a schedule one week before his or her shift, the employer would be required to compensate that employee for the change in schedule.
Predictive scheduling laws, popular among the food service and retail industries, have been passed in some form in Seattle, New York City, and San Francisco. The popularity of these laws surged in 2016, when 13 states and the District of Columbia introduced various forms of predictive schedule legislation. Georgia, however, joins Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee as states that have prohibited local governments from passing such predictive schedule ordinances.
Proponents of Georgia’s law believe that it benefits employers by creating uniform, statewide requirements for employers. Proponents further believe the law provides additional protections to employers that rely on flexibility in scheduling, including those employers that utilize an “on-call” system or make last-minute changes to their workforces depending on demand.
What does this mean for employers in Georgia?
Employers with locations in multiple cities and counties in Georgia do not, at this time, have to adjust their policies to reflect differing standards regarding employee pay requirements.
Georgia continues to prohibit localities from enacting worker protections that exceed federal or state law.
Cities and states around the country, however, may continue to pass predictive scheduling legislation. Employers with national or multistate operations should review their pay practices and policies to ensure their compliance in every state, city, and county of operation.