Can My Employer Change My Schedule Last Minute?

Article By: Jessica Carter


Can My Employer Change My Schedule Last Minute?

There are various reasons why having a fixed schedule at work is a plus point for the employees. A fixed work schedule dictates the rest of your schedule, and having advance notification of working hours allows the scheduling of social or recreational appointments.

Work schedule can help plan monthly finances, generally if your shift pattern dictates your pay rate. Therefore, it is annoying when your schedule gets altered at the last minute. If you cannot find the perfect Pay Stub Generator, do not worry we have got you covered. Presenting Online Paystub, a 100% free tool to generate documents in minutes. Make sure to check it out.

So, the challenging question is this: Can My Employer Change My Schedule Last Minute? In this blog, we shall answer this daunting question and everything you need to know about it. Let’s get started.

Can an Employer Change an Employee’s Schedule Hours?

In simple words, Yes! Employers can change the employee’s working schedule according to their terms. This might be a crucial change as it might have been done to cover for sickness or leave in general. It could also be for no reason at all.

The Department of Labor states that employers are free to change an employee’s schedule without prior notice, which is only valid in a pre-existing agreement between the employer and the employee.

This means that unless explicitly stated in your employment contract or between you and your employer, they can alter your assigned shift pattern and change your working hours.

How Much Notice Period is Required?

The notice required for scheduling changes varies depending upon state to state where your employment is located. It would help if you familiarized yourself with the relevant labor laws in your state.

If your state has a prophetic schedule law, your employer must give you notice of any scheduling changes that have been made. For example, if you are located in New York, your employer must provide you with 72 hours’ notice of scheduling changes.

In case your job is based in Seattle, your employer must increase your pay rate to time and a half for shifts that occur less than 10 hours apart and offer unique pay rates for schedule changes.

When Can’t an Employer Change an Employee’s Schedule?

There are scenarios when an employer cannot legally change an employee’s schedule, either a last-minute change or a reasonable notice period.

Industry-Dictated Limitations: There are specific industries where employers are prohibited from making a particular change due to limitations on how many hours can be worked per week.

For example, an industry is freight and haulage. Workers in this industry can be limited to 14 hours on duty following the minimum of 10 hours off duty. They are further limited to 11 hours of driving per shift with a mandatory break of 30 minutes minimum of 8 hours. With these limitations, 14-hour shifts cannot be extended through strategic breaks and fuel stops.

FMLA Leave: If you have taken a leave period under FMLA, your employer is legally bound to provide the same working conditions upon your return as were provided before the leave was taken.

Your employee is not permitted to reduce working hours due to, or during, your leave if you had fixed schedule hours and shifts before it.

State, Local, or Federal Law Conflicts: All employers must abide by the local, state, and federal employment laws relevant to their business. In this case, a labor law prohibits last-minute changes to the employee’s schedule; your employer is duty-bound to abide by it. They might be subject to employment-based lawsuits if they fail to comply with the labor law at any level.

Lack of Adequate Reparation For Scheduled Hours: Your employer might be subject to overtime laws if you are a part-time or full-time employee. In this case, your employer can only alter your schedule by adding hours if they provide adequate reparation in line with the relevant overtime laws.


What do I do if my Boss Keeps Changing my Schedule Last Minute?

There are various situations in which your employer can legally be within their rights to change the schedule at the last minute. However, if you are subjected to multiple instances of your employer making last-minute changes to the schedule, there are a few steps to soothe the issue.

Discuss the situation with your boss: The first step to dealing with any work-related issue is always to converse with your boss. Have a clear conversation with the member of the management that you report to, and let them know that the last-minute change to your working schedule is creating chaos with your ability to schedule other priorities.

Alert HR of this issue: If your employer is not open to a conversation and this has not resolved the issue, it has become a matter for the HR department to solve. Schedule a meeting with your HR department to discuss employee relations issues.



An employer can, with legal rights, change my schedule last minute. Understanding that employment laws apply to state, local, and federal laws is crucial. If you are looking for an Paycheck Stubs, visit Online Paystub, a 100% free tool.

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