Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance – What This Means For Restaurants

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Title 1 of the Municipal Code of Chicago Chapter 1-25 Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

The city of Chicago has enacted the Fair Workweek Ordinance to provide advance notice work schedules for employees to promote a healthy work-life balance and protect employees from unfair scheduling practices.  The law requires a premium payments to employees that are impacted by a schedule change and employees that work a late-night shift followed by an early morning shift, often referred to in the restaurant industry as a clopen.

Restaurants are covered by the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

However, according to the Municipal Code of Chicago—Chapter 1-25 Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, “the definition of ‘restaurant’ means any business licensed to serve food in the City of Chicago which also has, globally, at least 30 locations and at least 250 employees in the aggregate. The term “Restaurant” shall not include businesses limited to three or fewer locations in the City that are owned by one Employer and operating under a sole franchise.”

Covered Employees

Covered employees are employees, not independent contractors, physically working in the city of Chicago, and earning less than or equal to $50,000 per year as a salaried employee, or less than or equal to $26.00 per hour as an hourly employee.

Covered employees’ work schedules shall be provided no later than 10 days before the first day of the work week covered by the schedule.  The schedule must be posted in a conspicuous place at the workplace that is readily accessible and visible to all covered employees.

When a covered employee’s work schedule is changed less than 10 days prior to the beginning of the work week that employee shall be due one hour of predictability pay for each shift in which: 1) Hours are added; 2) Is moved from one day to another; 3) In and out times are changed with no loss of hours; 4) Hours are reduced or the shift is canceled completely, if more than 24 hours’ notice provided.


When a covered employee’s work schedule is reduced or canceled with less than 24 hours’ notice an employee is due no less than 50% of the regular rate of pay for each of the hours not worked.

Predictability pay is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for the week.  The regular rate of pay can fluctuate each week depending on an employee’s compensation.

There are many exceptions to the predictability pay requirements.  For example, a work schedule change that is the result of a mutually agreed upon shift trade or coverage arrangement between covered employees.


Right to Rest Doctrine

Under the Right to Rest doctrine, covered employee has the right to decline Work Schedule hours that are less than 10 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift.  When a covered employee works a shift that begins less than 10 hours after the end of the previous day’s shift, the Employer shall pay the covered employee at a rate of 1.25 times the Covered Employee’s regular rate of pay for that shift.

Prior to or on commencement of employment, an Employer shall provide every Covered Employee with a good faith estimate in writing of the Covered Employee’s projected days and hours of work for the first ninety days of employment.

What is the rollout timing of the law?

Covered employees’ schedules shall be provided no later than 10 days before the first day of any new schedule from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022, and shall post the Work Schedule no later than 14 days before the first day of any new Work Schedule beginning July 1, 2022.

What are the penalties if the law is not followed?

Any Employer who violates any of the rules set forth in the ordinance shall be subject to a fine of not less than $300.00 nor more than $500.00 for each offense.  Each Covered Employee whose rights are affected shall constitute a separate and distinct offense to which a separate fine shall apply.  Each day that a violation occurs shall constitute a separate and distinct offense to which a separate fine shall apply.

How can RASI assist restaurants to remain in compliance with the law?

This blog briefly discusses the major points of the law, please visit Chicago Fair Workweek for complete details of the ordinance.  If you have a question about how this law impacts your business, RASI always recommends reaching out to a local attorney for sensitive matters like this as RASI is not in a position to be offering legal advice.