Are you ready for some predictive scheduling?

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor


What do workers in the long-term care, retail, hospitality and foodservice sectors have in common? Among other things, varied work schedules.

As a post-acute operator, why should you care? Because a law just signed in Oregon requires employers in the other three fields to set up predictive scheduling. And if you think such a mandate could not easily find its way to your state or this sector, think again.

The Oregon measure forces employers to give workers a “good faith” work schedule estimate at the time of hiring. More important, written schedules must be posted a full seven days in advance. And beginning in 2020, that gap doubles to 14 days. Gulp!

If you are like most long-term care operators, you probably need to make staffing adjustments every single day. And you are probably not in a great position to pay for hours not worked or additional penalties, as some of the new proposals require.

But if you're looking for sympathy, try the dictionary. For this is a trend that shows few signs of going away.

In fact, similar measures have already been enacted in cities like San Francisco and Seattle. A predictive schedule ordinance also takes effect this November in New York City. And at least a dozen states are considering similar rules.

Fortunately, none of these places have included long-term care employees in their mandates. At least, not yet.

To be fair, the idea behind predictive scheduling is not all bad. Employees who know when they will be working are in a better position to arrange things like day care, and to know how much they will actually be earning.

But like any new mandate, this one adds new hurdles for  operators to deal with.

And sometimes the results are not so great for the people they are intended to assist. A study examining the San Francisco ordinance found that fewer jobs were being offered, along with the number of employees per shift.

So it's hardly a flawless solution. But it's a trend you may want to keep in mind, particularly  as you consider your future staffing obligations.

John O'Connor is McKnight's Editorial Director.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.