New Georgia regulation prevents predictive planning laws

The Georgian Minimum Wage Act (OCGA § 34-4-1 et seq.) Already prohibits local governments from obliging employers to pay workers a wage rate that exceeds statutory or federal requirements. The same law also prohibits local governments from requiring employers to provide unemployment benefits that are not otherwise required under state or federal law. And on May 8, 2017, Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill adding an amendment that further bans Georgia locations from enacting “forward planning” ordinances.

Predictive scheduling legislation (also known as “fair workweek” legislation) requires employers to compensate workers for schedule changes that affect their work schedules if workers are not properly notified (usually between two and four Weeks). In other words, if an employer took an employee off a schedule a week before his shift, the employer would have to compensate that employee for changing the schedule.

Seattle, New York City, and San Francisco have some form of predictive planning laws that are popular in the food and retail industries. These laws rose in popularity in 2016 when 13 states and the District of Columbia introduced various forms of predictive schedule legislation. However, Georgia joins Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee as states that have prohibited local governments from enacting such forward-looking schedule ordinances.

Proponents of the Georgian law believe that it will benefit employers by creating uniform, nationwide requirements for employers. Proponents also believe that the law provides additional protection to employers who need flexibility in planning, including employers who use an on-call system or who make last-minute changes to their employees as needed.

What does this mean for employers in Georgia?

  • Employers with locations in multiple cities and counties in Georgia do not currently need to adjust their policies to reflect different standards of employee wage requirements.

  • Georgia continues to forbid municipalities from taking employee protection measures that go beyond federal or state law.

  • However, cities and states across the country can still enact predictive planning laws. Employers with national or multi-state operations should review their compensation practices and policies to ensure that they are followed in all states, cities, and counties.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, PC, all rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 180