Customers wait in line at an Aeropostale store in New York. Reuters
“On-call shifts are not a business necessity and should be a thing of the past,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “People should not have to keep the day open, arrange for child care, and give up other opportunities without being compensated for their time.”
“I am pleased that these companies have stepped up to the plate and agreed to stop using this unfair method of scheduling,” he said.
“When working parents are forced to hold large parts of their days up until the last minute — with no guarantee of work or pay — it is impossible for them to plan ahead for things like spending time at the dinner table or helping [kids] out with homework,” said Elianne Farhat, Deputy Campaign Director in the Fair Workweek Initiative at Popular Democracy. “The research is clear that when employees have reliable schedules with adequate hours, retention and productivity go up.”
In April 2015, Schneiderman’s office sent letters to 15 major retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, American Eagle, Uniqlo, Vans, Coach, and BCBG Max Azria, addressing his concern over the welfare of on-call workers and the legal wage in certain states like New York, where employers must pay employees at least four hours of pay for being on call.
The letters and investigation prompted Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, J.Crew, Urban Outfitters, Pier 1 Imports, and L Brands (parent company of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret) to swiftly end their on-call practices.
Social media users celebrated Schneiderman’s announcement with appropriate holiday spirit, thanking him for giving “a voice” to those who struggled to be heard, and ending a “horrible practice.”
The letters were signed and supported by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island.