Published: Fri, December 23, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Six retailers agree to stop using on-call shift scheduling

Six retailers agree to stop using on-call shift scheduling

The decision that many companies made comes following a probe by the NY attorney general's office that examined how on-call scheduling affected workers in a negative manner.

The office of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Monday that six more retailers - Aeropostale, Disney, PacSun, Zumiez, Carter's and David's Tea - are ending on-call scheduling policies, to the total benefit of some 50,000 employees, The Washington Post reports.

Almost 50,000 employees of the six retailers nationwide will be affected by the agreement.

Tuesday's deal expands on a similar agreement reached in the same probe in 2015 between the state attorneys general and retailers including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Gap Inc. Schneiderman said such short notice disrupts workers' schedules and gives them little time for additional jobs.

Four of the firms - Carter's, Disney, David's Tea and Zumiez - said they also would give employees their work schedule at least one week in advance. These six companies reported that they were using on-call shifts, but after discussions with the AGs' offices, all agreed to stop doing so, and none are now using on-call shifts. It's a burden for workers who need to arrange child care.

The AG's office says the companies were able to find alternative methods for staffing stores during an unexpected employee absence or during a slow time for businesses. And attorneys general in some areas, including Schneiderman, say it actually violates existing law.

A spokeswoman for the Disney Store confirmed that the retailer abandoned on-call scheduling earlier this year, though she did not specify whether it was in response to the inquiry.

Now, several big chains are walking away from the practice after an inquiry by a group of state attorneys general from across the country.

Schneiderman called the practice "unfair", and in the April letter he referred to the toll on-call scheduling takes on employees: they "experience higher incidences of adverse health effects, overall stress, and strain on family life than workers who enjoy the stability of knowing their schedules reasonably in advance".

States included in the settlement are California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island.

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