Following pressure from labor advocates and a group of state attorneys general, Aeropostale, Carter’s, David’s Tea, Disney, PacSun and Zumiez have decided to end on-call scheduling for retail workers. The common practice requires hourly employees to call ahead as little as two hours before a shift starts, to confirm that they are needed to work that day. On-call scheduling can cause hardship for retail employees, who often have to make travel and childcare accommodations, well before their work day begins. According to a 2015 study by the Economic Policy Institute, retailer workers are the lowest income level are more likely to be subject to on-call scheduling.
Last year, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works, Gap and Victoria’s Secret led the charge in agreeing to end on-call scheduling after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alongside fellow attorneys spoke out against it.
American Eagle, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Forever 21, Justice Just for Girls, Payless, Tilly’s Inc., Uniqlo and Vans also announced plans to phase-out on-call scheduling or end it all together.
With major changes for beauty and retail workers, focus has now shifted to food service workers, who have also been at the forefront of conversations about fair labor practices.
In December 2016, the New York City Council introduced multiple “Fair Work Week” initiatives, which are designed to protect retail workers. In addition to banning on-call scheduling, the council is also proposing a measure that would require food service workers to receive at least two weeks notice of their scheduling. Employers who make sudden changes to a worker’s schedule would be subject to financial penalties.