What is predictive scheduling?

4 min read  |   14 June, 2021   By Breathe Australia


What is predictive scheduling and is it applicable in Australia?

To help protect employees, and implement a fairer rostering system, organisations have started to implement a new way of scheduling their rosters: predictive scheduling. 

This new way of scheduling not only helps create a positive working environment for employees—it can also boost staff retention and improve efficiency by encouraging a healthy work-life balance.

What is predictive scheduling?

What are the predictive scheduling laws?

Do predictive scheduling laws apply to Australia?

How to adjust your roster to work for predictive scheduling

A simple solution for predictive scheduling

What is predictive scheduling?

 If your staff can't predict or plan their day to day lives properly, they’re going to lose enthusiasm for their role and start looking elsewhere for work. 

Predictive scheduling aims to give staff more security and control over their time by distributing rosters at least two weeks ahead of time. In theory, this stops shifts from being posted without advance notice. It also protects employees from last minute call-ins and roster changes. This means predictive scheduling can help staff see more of their family and friends because they can plan around shifts with more confidence.

By changing the way you schedule, you can help your business by giving staff more stability in their role, which in turn will improve the overall morale of your team.

What are the predictive scheduling laws?

The laws that apply to predictive scheduling ensure that employers post rosters to their employees a certain amount of days or weeks in advance. It also forces organisations to observe rest periods between rotations to reduce overworking and staff burnout. 

Predictive scheduling laws also aim to discourage employers from changing schedules by enacting penalties—such as extra pay and the right to refuse—for staff who are asked to come in when they aren't scheduled to work.

Although they vary depending on the region, predictive scheduling laws tend to include the following: 


Staff must be notified of upcoming shifts and any changes in plenty of time. This is usually around the two week mark.


Penalties for roster changes after the required notice period, such employees receiving extra pay to encourage employers to keep their schedules organised and fair.

The extra pay depends on the area, how much notice was given and the extent of the scheduling change.


Clopenings occur when a staff member closes a hospitality or retail outlet late at night, then has to open the store early the following morning. This back-to-back shift style can be extremely draining for employees, who will have little time to rest between demanding shifts. 

In New York City, scheduling laws ban employees from closing fast-food stores and reopening them the next day unless there has been at least an 11-hour gap between shifts. 

Records and visibility 

To ensure any cases of law breaches are found, businesses are asked to maintain and store scheduled data for multiple years. Rosters must also be displayed in an area that’s easily accessible to all employees. 

If you are thinking of implementing predictive scheduling in your workplace, use a cloud based rostering software, to make it easier. Our rostering software allows you to create an easily accessible schedule well in advance and keep a permanent record of past rosters without the need for additional storage space.

Do predictive scheduling laws apply to Australia?

Currently predictive scheduling laws do not apply in Australia. However, the benefits of implementing predictive scheduling mean it is still worth considering for your workplace. 

In Australia, an employer can change shifts as long as they consult with their employee about the change. They will have to:

  • give information about the roster change
  • invite their employees to give their views on the impact of the change
  • consider their employees' views about the roster changes

How to adjust your roster to work for predictive scheduling

With a few simple changes you can adjust your roster to make it fairer for staff, and ready for predictive scheduling.

1. Prepare your roster in advance 

Create your roster weeks in advance and make it accessible to employees with at least two weeks’ notice. 

2. Make your roster accessible 

Make sure all staff can access the new roster by keeping it in an area where all staff can see. This can be the staff room or online in a shared spreadsheet. 

Alternatively, by using a Breathe’s cloud-based rostering software, your staff can access the roster from home or on their mobile device. 

3. Set scheduled hours

Upon hiring a new staff member discuss what hours you wish them to work and stick to it. You should also meet with our current staff and discuss how many hours you want them to work. 

4. Discuss overtime pay

Talk with your staff about setting up overtime pay as a penalty when you as an employer ask employees to work overtime or cover shifts that are outside their agreed scheduled hours.

A simple solution for predictive scheduling

Breathe’s Rostering software makes planning shifts in advance a breeze. Try our platform for free today and try predictive scheduling for yourself. It could make all the difference to your employees’ wellbeing, while saving you valuable time.

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Author: Breathe Australia

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