24 Oct 2015

Doing Away with “On-Call” Shifts

Everyone has to have a first job somewhere, right? Some of you may not know this, but my first gig as a working girl was at my local mall at Limited Too. I held that job for a solid three months and obtained it when I was 16 when I could even begin to work. I always heard from countless people that working in the food industry and in a restaurant is one of the best jobs you could get growing up because it’s going to teach you a lot about patience, customer service, time management, working with people in general etc, but you know – working in retail is also no walk in the park. I was constantly on my feet, building displays for new shipments of clothes, acting as a personal stylist for young girls ages 6-13, and working that tricky register.

Lately in the news, there has been a lot of talk about “on-call” shifts – something that I also experienced when I was working at Limited Too. Basically what this means is that if you are employed by a retailer that enforces an on-call shift, you not only get your set schedule for the week, but also shifts where you might be “on-call” as well. It means you may or may not have to work that shift, but you’ll know a couple hours before that on-call shift if you have to come in when your manager calls you from the store. Why does this suck? Because it’s short notice. It’s not really a part of your schedule, but even still, you have to be available and ready to go in if called so you can’t make other plans.

After New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman started questioning how legal this was amongst retailers enforcing this policy, a number of retailers have started getting rid of it.

The inconvenient policy got blasted in April when New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, sent letters to 13 major retailers, questioning the legality of scheduling shifts with such short notice. In June, Victoria’s Secret ditched the policy due to an employee lawsuit, and one month later, Abercombie & Fitch (in addition to its Hollister and Abercrombie Kids brands), did away with the policy as well. Urban Outfitters squelched the scheduling M.O. earlier this month.

And J. Crew announced this week that they’re done with it too! This is an incredible step for retailers for ensuring that their employees are re-instating a healthier work-life balance. Should be interesting to see who’s going to follow suit next!


Posted on October 24, in Life

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