Ramifications of Changing an Employee's Schedule without Notice

Many managers are not aware that in many states you must provide the appropriate lead time when notifying an employee of a schedule change.


5/17/20241 min read

Changing an Employee’s Work Schedules.

Recently, I advised a client on their obligation to notify non-exempt employees in advance when they had a schedule change. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that, in most cases, an employer is allowed to change the work schedule of anyone over 16 years of age without prior notice or consent. However, state and local laws often override the federal laws when it comes to changing an employee’s schedule. For example, if you are an employer in the state of California you are subject to the California Labor Code, which has its own requirements about the notice that employers need to give their staff when changing their work schedule.

The lead time required for changing a worker’s schedule can vary based on state and local laws. For instance, in San Francisco, employers with more than 20 employees must provide employees with their schedules at least 2 weeks in advance. In New York City, employers have to give their employees at least 72 hours advance notice of any changes to their schedule. In Oregon, that increases to 14 days. For WA state, temporary changes to schedule require an employee to provide two calendar days’ notice to the employee.

Note, the laws regulating schedule changes can be very specific depending on the state, locality, size of employer, type of worker (full-time vs. part-time) and the number of employees.Managers need to be fully aware of the laws, or they may find they have to pay a penalty for not providing enough notice for an employee’s schedule change. Be sure to work with your HR representative or contact your state/local agency for your specific regulations related to schedule changes and the required notice.