Header Image Mobile Header Image


01/29/2017 | Restoring a Fair Workweek

Six Major Retailers to Stop On-Call Shift Scheduling

Just before the Christmas holiday, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, along with attorneys general from seven others states and D.C., announced that six major retailers have agreed to stop using on-call shifts for employees in their stores following an inquiry by the multi-state coalition of AGs. An estimated 50,000 workers nationwide will benefit from the agreements to end the burdensome scheduling practice, which requires employees to call their employer - typically an hour or two before as scheduled shift - to find out if they will be assigned to work that day.

The six companies - Aeropostale, Carter’s, David’s Tea, Disney, PacSun, and Zumiez - were among 15 large retailers who received a joint inquiry letter from the nine attorneys general in April of 2016 seeking information and documents related to their use of on-call shifts.

The collaboration among attorneys general stemmed from their collective concern about the impact of on-call shifts on employees and their families, as well as the national scope of the retail companies involved.

This inquiry follows a similar one launched by Attorney General Schneiderman last year that prompted six retail brands including the Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch to end on-call scheduling. More than 300,000 retail workers have been impacted from these the AG actions.

The letters were signed by representatives of the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island. Several offices signed only letters to retailers located within their states.

CPD community partners in these states have been at the forefront of the movement for a fair workweek, and many brought the issue of erratic work schedules to the attention of their state Attorneys General. In Connecticut, Julio Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road, stated: “Providing reliable schedules enables workers to reach their full potential, letting them thrive in today’s changing economy. We will continue to put the heat on employers until schedules across the industry are reliable and fair.”

Unpredictable work schedules take a toll on workers and their families. On-call shifts in particular mean that employees have to put their lives on hold, and then scramble to be available to work with just a few hours notice. This wreaks havoc on families adding stress and makes healthy routines with kids even more difficult. On-call scheduling also makes it hard to for people to hold down a second job or keep up with school. Retailers are moving to end the practice of on-call scheduling because of mounting public concern for employees well-being – and because it is an unnecessary labor practice that actually hurts business.

“This latest announcement shows the sweeping positive impact that Attorney General Schneiderman’s actions have had on the lives of people working in retail,” said Carrie Gleason, CPD’s director of the Fair Workweek Initiative. “Today, we are seeing retailers across America take steps to curb unnecessary and unfair on call-scheduling. We are especially glad that employers like Disney and Carter’s, whose brands promote putting families first, will stop using on-call shifts that are notorious for wreaking havoc on families’ balance and puts undue stress on children. It’s impossible to arrange for childcare with just a few hours’ notice, and so it’s good to see thousands more working parents no longer have to scramble to work enough hours to support their families.”