Unfortunately for employees, most employers don’t have any legal obligation to provide their employees with notice prior to changing their work schedules regardless of how abrupt or drastic the schedule change is.
There are few exceptions, however. Employers must comply with collective bargaining agreements that require notice of schedule changes. Employers also cannot change an employee’s schedule upon their return from FMLA leave. Further, a handful of states have what’s known as “show up pay,” which require employers to pay employees a minimum amount if they show up to work but are sent home either immediately or before the end of a scheduled shift. In California, this is known as “reporting time pay, and requires that employees who report for work, but work less than half their scheduled shift, be paid for the half the scheduled day, but no less than two hours nor more than four hours.
Most recently, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, and the state of Oregon enacted “Predictive Scheduling Laws.” Predictive scheduling laws generally require employers to provide employees with a minimum amount of notice for their work schedule and/or any changes to a scheduled shift. In San Francisco, for example, employers with more than 20 employees must provide employees with their schedules at least 2 weeks in advance. Additionally, if an employee’s schedule is changed with less than seven days’ notice, they are entitled to be paid an additional one to four hours of pay, depending on the amount of notice.