Secure Scheduling

At Big Dipper Hospitality Group in the summer of 2019, we formalized, and maybe most importantly, normalized, a set of policies that address how hiring and scheduling managers, employers, and any supervisor can easily improve the quality of an employee’s work life with a handful of simple approaches. Not only does this positively impact the employee, but also the employer is able to feel good knowing they have a set of very low cost benefits that many prospective hires are on the lookout for today, and are already law in some municipalities. Since codifying these polices in 2019, their uptake has been nearly seamless.

We are happy to see thought leaders such as Heather Mcghee, Rosa DeLauro, and Elizabeth Warren using their platforms and legislation such as the Schedules That Work Act to bring this policy set to a wider range of workplaces.

Statement of Problem

Secure scheduling policies protect workers by requiring employers to follow certain practices to avoid unpredictable work schedules, which often deprive employees of a proper work-life balance. In addition to employee satisfaction, are a lot of upsides for the employer as well. Considerate human resource practices significantly reduce turnover and lengthen job tenure. Academic research more generally confirms that establishments with lower turnover have significantly better customer satisfaction, productivity, and revenue growth compared to those with higher turnover.

Employees who work irregular shift times, in contrast with those with more standard, regular shift times, experience greater work-family conflict, and sometimes experience greater work stress.  According to a recent study from the Economic Policy Institute, this is life for about 17 percent of the labor force. So called “just-in-time scheduling” is far more common for those who work for hourly wages or are part-time employees, or both. Part-time workers—more than six million Americans—are more than twice as likely to have unpredictable hours than full-time employees.  Many workers had one week or less of advanced notice about their upcoming work hours, the study found. Such haphazard scheduling has been linked to not only lower levels of job satisfaction, but also to greater levels of work-family conflict, according to Lonnie Golden, the study’s author. Another study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, had similar findings, linking irregular shift schedules to diminished cognition and physical health, with workers who were exposed to such schedules for extended periods.


This a group of polices that we can follow as employers, supervisors, hiring managers and scheduling managers to lessen the occurrence of stress, lower job satisfaction, and turnover at work due to irregular schedules. 

The following secure scheduling policies are as follows: The right to a good faith estimate of work schedules; the right to request input to the work schedule; the right to advance notice of work schedules; the right to rest between work shifts; the right to equal treatment for part-time employees; the right to access additional hours of work; the right to be protected from a pattern or practice of under-scheduling.  


The intent of this is to establish predictable work schedules that advance race and social equity, promote greater economic security, further the health, safety and welfare of employees, create opportunity for employee input into scheduling practices, and create a mechanism for employees to obtain access to additional hours of work before the employer hires new employees from an external applicant pool.  Better human resource practices dramatically reduce turnover and create a more stable, long tenured workforce ultimately leading to better customer satisfaction, productivity, and revenue growth.  

More About Each Policy

The right to a good faith estimate of work schedules 

For new employees, the hiring manager shall provide the employee with a written good faith estimate of the employee’s work schedule at time of hire. 

  • The good faith estimate shall include the median number of hours the employee can expect to work each work week, the hours and days of the week, and whether the employee can expect to work on-call shifts. 
    • The hiring manager shall include the good faith estimate with the job description for the role.  
    • Start time may be adjusted for special events.  End time may be adjusted for business decline/volume. 
    • If the restaurant or service period is under two years old, an exemption to comply with this policy is acceptable with a good faith agreement that an estimate of expected hours, days, and times of the week and no on-call shifts is the best practice whenever possible.   

The right to request input to the work schedule 

Scheduling managers are required to attempt to accommodate a worker’s request for schedule.  

  • At time of hire and during employment, an employee may identify any limitations or changes in the employee’s work schedule availability. The employee may also request not to be scheduled for work shifts during certain times or at certain locations.
    • If a job candidate is unable to work shifts deemed necessary for the schedule, the hiring manager may pass on the candidate.  
  • An employer may require the employee to provide reasonable verification of the need for a request made.

The right to advance notice of work schedules

Scheduling managers must provide employees with their schedules two weeks in advance. 

  • For new employees at time of hire, and for existing employees returning to work after a leave of absence, the scheduling manager may provide the employee with a written work schedule that runs through the last date of the currently posted schedule. Thereafter, the employer shall include these employee(s) in the schedule for existing employees as described.  
  • If the restaurant or service period is under two years old, an exemption to comply with this policy is acceptable with a good faith agreement that a two week advance notice of schedule is best practice whenever possible.   
  • Since the schedule needs to cover a 14-day period, employees have to submit time off requests at least 28 days in advance.  
    • If multiple people in the same position apply for the same days, the approval will be based on both seniority and order of request.
    • Employees are responsible for working shifts for which they are scheduled.  If unable to make it to a scheduled shift for whatever reason, the employee is responsible for finding coverage. If they are unable to get it covered or need help, please contact the manager as soon as possible.

The right to rest between work shifts

Scheduling managers must provide a rest period of at least 10 hours between shifts unless an employee consents to work during the rest period.  This does not apply to a double.  

The right to equal treatment for part-time employees

Hiring and scheduling managers must provide equal treatment to part-time employees, as compared to full-time employees at their same level (i.e. seniority, experience) with respect to:

  • starting hourly wage; 
  • eligibility for promotions;
  • benefits
    • At this time, Big Dipper Hospitality Group is able to offer discount health insurance to employees that work no less than 30 hours per week.  

The right to access additional hours of work or promotion

Hiring managers must offer additional hours or promotion to qualified employees before they can hire any new employees, temporary, part-time or seasonal. 

  • The employee has to have 72 hours to accept the new work before the employer can hire. Hiring managers have to make the offer in a conspicuous place in the workplace, like messaging platforms or bulletin boards.   

The right to be protected from a pattern or practice of under-scheduling  

The scheduling manager shall not engage in a systemic pattern or practice of significant under-scheduling wherein: 

  • the hours that employees actually work are significantly above the hours in the written work schedule; or 
  • if the scheduling manager is not giving hours due to performance, the manager should seek more constructive forms of discipline or termination.