The Chicago City Council last week unanimously passed a bill requiring large Chicago employers to give workers at least 10 days’ advance notice of their work schedules and compensate them for last-minute changes. It covers employees working in the building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, restaurant, retail and warehouse services industries.

Workers for day and temporary labor service agencies are covered under the rules if they have been on assignment to the employer for 420 hours within an 18-month period.

The “Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance” takes effect July 1, 2020 — or Jan. 1, 2021, for “safety-net” hospitals. And beginning July 1, 2022, the advance-notice timeline increases to 14 days. Rules apply only to businesses with 100 or more employees; to nonprofits with more than 250 employees; to restaurants with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally; and to franchisees with four or more locations.

The final version of the legislation limits the scheduling protections to those earning $26.00 per hour or less as an hourly employee; for salaried employees, the threshold is $50,000 or less per year.

The National Law Review called the legislation the most sweeping predictive scheduling ordinance in the country to date.

Employers will be required to offer extra hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new staff members. And if offered shifts are not accepted by covered employees, “the shifts shall be offered to temporary or seasonal workers who have worked on behalf of the employer for two or more weeks.”

The legislation also includes a “right to rest” provision that requires employers to pay covered employees at a rate of 1.25 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for a shift that begins less than 10 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift.

Chicago’s ordinance is the nation’s first to include hospital workers, SEIU Healthcare Illinois said in a statement lauding the legislation.

“Unpredictable scheduling is a real problem for hospital workers in all job classifications. When you’ve got workers on 12-hour, 14-hour, even 16-hour shifts, then being sent home for a single shift can mean losing a third of your paycheck without warning and that’s especially hard if you’re making poverty wages” said Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents hospital workers throughout Greater Chicago. “That’s why this ordinance needed to include hospital workers — and why it’s such a victory for the frontline healthcare workers who give their all to patients but have trouble caring for their own families.”

However, Chicago-area hospitals that serve low-income patients had previously told Modern Healthcare that they won’t survive under the ordinance. Eleven safety-net hospitals, which treat large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients, said complying with the rule would mean a collective $30 million loss.

“We’ve cut services as much as we can without harming the community,” said Tim Caveney, CEO of South Shore Hospital. “If this (measure) drives our salaries up 5%, another $1 million, without funding from the state, we’ll be closing. We won’t have the money to survive.”