United States: Philadelphia Will Have A "Fair Workweek": What Covered Employers Need To Know Right Now

On December 6, 2018, Philadelphia City Council approved the Fair Workweek Ordinance by a vote of 14-3. Following its passage by City Council, Mayor Kenney reiterated his support and his intention to sign the Ordinance into law. Even if Mayor Kenney vetoed the Ordinance, City Council could override the veto with 12 votes- which it currently has. In sum, it appears that Philadelphia will have a Fair Workweek for 130,000 employees in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries.

The following information is based on the Fair Workweek legislation, as amended, and as passed by City Council on December 6:

What Is It?

Philadelphia's Fair Workweek Ordinance applies to large businesses in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries that employ more than 250 people and have at least 30 locations worldwide ("Covered Employers"). The legislation generally requires Covered Employers to provide advance notice of work schedules; pay additional compensation, or "Predictability Pay," for changes to an employee's scheduled shift; and permit employees to take nine hours of rest time between shifts.

When Does This Begin?

Fair Workweek is scheduled to become effective in Philadelphia on January 1, 2020.

Why Does Philadelphia Want It?

Employees expect that predictable work scheduling will help with (1) personal life scheduling, including planning for medical appointments and for childcare; (2) having a better expectation of monthly income for financial planning; (3) qualifying for childcare subsidies; and (4) being able to have dedicated time to pursue additional educational and training opportunities, ultimately leading to higher paying jobs. On a broader level, advocates hope that Fair Workweek will help to reduce the 26% poverty level in Philadelphia.

For Covered Employers, a recent study has shown that predictable scheduling practices can lead to increased sales and employee productivity. In addition, predictable scheduling could reduce the time and expense associated with hiring and training new employees, may assist with employee retention, and may reduce the need to find last-minute shift coverage.

What Are The Potential Downsides?

As we explain in greater detail below, Covered Employers will be required to implement additional scheduling, notice, and record-keeping procedures in order to comply with the mandates. The implementation of such procedures will likely be time-consuming and could add additional expense to the Covered Employer. Employers in other cities where similar legislation has been passed have reported spending thousands of dollars on additional computer software to track scheduling changes.

Fair Workweek also requires Covered Employers to pay additional compensation to employees for shift changes under certain circumstances and when an employee works a shift without receiving nine hours of rest time. Again, this creates additional expense for the Covered Employer.

Fair Workweek may also subject Covered Employers to legal exposure and associated costs if an employee feels that the Fair Workweek mandates have been violated. Not only would this be an additional cost for Covered Employers, but the number of potential claims stemming from this legislation could create significant demands on the City and its courts.

As a result of the increased costs to the Covered Employer, it may be forced to increase its prices, which may reduce its customer base and perhaps lead to a reduction in workforce. Worse, some businesses may be discouraged by Fair Workweek and may decide to operate in the neighboring Pennsylvania suburbs, New Jersey, and/or Delaware. This would result in fewer available jobs for Philadelphians working in these industries.

Who Else Has A Fair Workweek?

Similar legislation has been passed in New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and in the state of Oregon. It is currently being considered in Chicago and Boston.

Notably, Philadelphia is the first city to include hotel employees in its predictable scheduling legislation.

What Are The Practical Business Implications For Covered Employers?

  1. For New Hires
    1. A Covered Employer must provide a written, good faith estimate of the new employee's work schedule. This includes the average number of hours the new employee can expect to work each week over a typical 90-day period; whether the new employee can expect to work any on-call shifts; and the days/times/shifts that the new employee can expect to work.
    2. A Covered Employer must provide the new employee with a written work schedule that runs through the last date of the currently posted schedule.
    3. New hires can make work schedule requests.
  2. For Existing Employees
    1. Covered Employers must provide written notice of work schedules, including the employees' shifts and if the employees are scheduled to work or are on-call. The work schedule shall be posted 10 days before the first day of any new schedule from January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020. Beginning on January 1, 2021, the work schedule shall be posted 14 days before the first day of any new schedule.
    2. The Covered Employer shall provide notice of any proposed change to the work schedule as promptly as possible and prior to the change taking effect. The written work schedule must be revised within 24 hours of making the change.
    3. An employee is entitled to nine hours of rest time between shifts (but will be compensated $40 for a shift worked in under nine hours).
    4. Existing employees can make work schedule requests.
  3. Compensation for Changed Work Schedules
    1. For employer-initiated changes to the work schedule that occur after the 10 (and later, 14) day notice requirement, a Covered Employer shall pay the employee Predictability Pay, in addition to the employee's regular pay for hours actually worked by the employee.
      1. When a Covered Employer adds time to a work shift or changes the date/time/location of the shift, with no loss of hours to the employee, the Covered Employer is required to pay one additional hour at the employee's regular rate of pay.
      2. If the employee does not work scheduled hours because hours are subtracted from a regular/on-call shift or a regular/on-call shift is cancelled, the Covered Employer is required to pay "no less than one-half times" the employee's regular hourly rate for the missed hours.
      3. For Tipped Employees (i.e., those that receive more than $50 per month in gratuities), a forthcoming regulation will establish a regular rate of pay for purposes of determining Predictability Pay.
    2. Predictability Pay is not required in all situations where work schedules are changed and exceptions include:
      1. Changes that are made to the work schedule within 24 hours after being posted under the 10 (and later, 14) day notice requirement.
      2. A ticketed event (e.g., concert, sporting event) is cancelled or scheduled after the work schedule is posted.
      3. A hotel banquet event is scheduled after the work schedule is posted.
      4. The employee initiates the shift change or swaps shifts with another employee.
      5. The Covered Employer's business cannot operate for reasons such as weather conditions or the closing of public transportation.
      6. The employee begins or ends work no more than 20 minutes before or after the schedule start or end time of the shift.
  1. Offering Work to Existing Employees Before Hiring New Employees
    1. Before hiring new employees, Covered Employers must offer work to existing employees. Notice of the work must be made available for at least 72 hours, unless less time is necessary in order for the work to be performed.
  2. Notice of Fair Workweek Rights
    1. Covered Employers must post a notice that sets forth the rights afforded under Fair Workweek.
  3. No Retaliation
    1. Covered Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who exercise their Fair Workweek rights.
  4. Record Keeping
    1. Covered Employers must keep records of its compliance with Fair Workweek, including the good faith work schedule estimates for new employees and offers of work to existing employees made before hiring new employees. These records must be retained for two years.

What Are The Legal Implications For Covered Employers?

An aggrieved employee can pursue recourse through two primary means: filing a Complaint with the proposed Fair Workweek Agency and/or filing a court action.

  1. Agency Complaints
    1. An employee has two years to file a Complaint with the Agency. The Agency will investigate the allegations and, if appropriate, attempt resolution through mediation.
    2. The Agency can subpoena records from the Covered Employer relating to the Complaint and the Covered Employer must provide records within 30 days of receiving the subpoena.
    3. The Agency can impose penalties for a Covered Employer violating Fair Workweek mandates, including reinstatement of employment and payment of lost wages.
    4. Fair Workweek does not specifically provide for the recovery of attorney's fees and costs by a Covered Employer if it succeeds in defending against the Agency Complaint.
  2. Court Actions
    1. An employee also has the right to bring a court action against the Covered Employer, within two years, for violating Fair Workweek mandates. The employee does not need to file a Complaint with the Agency before filing a lawsuit.
    2. If an employee files a lawsuit and also has an investigation pending with the Agency based on the same allegations, the Agency claim will be deemed withdrawn.
    3. If the employee prevails in the court action, Fair Workweek provides for the recovery of any unpaid compensation, lost wages and benefits, presumed damages (to be established by the Agency), and an equal amount of liquidated damages (up to $2,000). The employee is also entitled to an award of attorney's fees and costs.
    4. Fair Workweek does not specifically provide for the recovery of attorney's fees and costs by a Covered Employer if it succeeds in defending against the lawsuit.

We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as they are available. If you have any questions regarding how the Fair Workweek Ordinance could impact your business, please consult your Fisher Phillips attorney.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions