On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council passed and Mayor Lightfoot approved a predictive scheduling ordinance known as the Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). It becomes effective on July 1, 2020. The following summarizes key features of the Ordinance.

Covered Employers and Employees. Covered Employers are employers in the building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, restaurant, retail and warehouse services industries that globally employ more than 100 employees—or in the case of not-for-profit corporations, more than 250 employees—at least 50 of whom are Covered Employees. Covered Employees are those who work primarily in Chicago for Covered Employers and earn less than $26.00 an hour or $50,000 annually. Covered Employees include workers employed by temporary labor service agencies assigned to Covered Employers if the worker has been assigned to a Covered Employer for 420+ hours in the preceding 18 months.

Advance Scheduling Requirements.

At The Time of Hire. Within 90 days of hire, a Covered Employer must provide Covered Employees with a written “good faith estimate” of expected weekly hours, on-call shifts and day and time of shifts. Covered Employees are entitled to request a modification of the estimate in writing, and employers must respond in writing and within three days of any modification request.

Throughout Employment. In addition to posting a notice of the rights granted by the Ordinance and maintaining certain scheduling records for a period of 3 years, the Ordinance imposes the following requirements:

Posting Requirements. Schedules must be posted or disseminated by regular means of communication. Schedules must include the shifts for all Covered Employees, unless an employee requests to have his or her name removed from the public scheduling because he or she or his or her family or household member is a victim of domestic violence. Employers also must provide the schedule by electronic means if an employee requests that in writing.

Advance Notice Requirements. Covered Employers must provide employees no fewer than 10 days advance notice of their schedules, or risk incurring Predictability Pay premiums. This number will increase to 14 days as of July 1, 2022. Predictability Pay is calculated on an hourly basis, at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Required Predictability Pay for schedule changes after the 10-day minimum are as follows:

Advance Notice Employer Schedule Modification Amount Due to Employee
< 10 days Adds hours of work 1 hour Predictability Pay/shift
< 10 days Changes date or time of shift (no loss of total hours) 1 hour Predictability Pay/shift
24+ hours’ notice Cancels or reduces hours from a regular or on call shift 1 hour Predictability Pay/shift
< 24 hours’ notice Cancels or reduces hours from a regular or on call shift 50% of regular rate of pay for hours not worked

Predictability Pay is not required to compensate for last-minute schedule changes only in certain limited circumstances, which include: acts of nature; mutually agreed upon shift changes between employees pursuant to an existing employer policy; changes mutually agreed upon in writing between the employer and the employee; or where the change is a result of the employee’s own written request to use sick, vacation or other leave offered by the employer.

Other Changes.

Right to Rest. The Ordinance imposes a new “right to rest” that exceeds the requirements of the current Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Right Law. Beginning on July 1, 2020, if a Covered Employee works a shift that begins fewer than 10 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift, the employer must compensate the employee at a rate of 1.25 times the employee’s regular rate of pay. The Ordinance does not contain any exception to this rule, even for employees who volunteer for shifts.

Right to Decline. Covered Employees have the right to decline any previously unscheduled hours added more than 10 days after a schedule has been posted.

Right to Request Flexible Work Schedule. Covered Employees will have a right to request modified work schedules, including shift changes.

Retaliation Prohibited. The Ordinance prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise any right thereunder. This includes retaliation in the form of negative evaluations, punitive schedule changes, decreases in desirability of work assignments and denial of promotions.

Penalties. Employers that violate the Ordinance are subject to $300 fines per offense. Violation of the statute’s non-retaliation provisions will result in a $1,000 fine. Each violation will constitute a distinct offense, and any private agreement between an employer and an employee will not result in a release of the fine. Further, employees have a private cause of action to collect wages due to them under the Ordinance, so long as they first have pursued a complaint with the City of Chicago.

Implications. Given the substantial changes facing employers with variable-hour workforces, employers should take early steps to ensure that scheduling processes, policies and software systems are positioned to comply next year.


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Photo of Steven J. Pearlman Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular…

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.

Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.

Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an “expert in his field.” Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a “Top Mind.” Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a “Rising Star Under 40” in the area of employment law and 1 of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for “Distinguished Legal Writing.”

Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.