Abercrombie & Fitch is abandoning the on-call work practice on short notice, the company’s Senior Vice-President Robert Bostrom confirmed in a letter sent to media. Bostrom said the on-call shift will cease by September in New York and shall be totally abrogated from all its stores throughout the country.
“What this means is that Abercrombie’s hourly and shift workers will not be required to hold their schedules open for shifts for which they may or may not ultimately be asked to work,” Bostron said in the letter sent to Labor Bureau Chief of the Attorney General Terri Gerstein, as quoted.
In April, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 12 retailers, including Abercrombie, requesting for detailed information on their scheduling practices. Schneiderman in his letter mentioned his office received reports that several employers schedule night shifts to employees only hours prior to the start of shift.
The Attorney General’s investigation stems from the possibility of committing violations as laws vest upon employees right to wages up to four hours should employees who reported for a shift learn they are not needed. It has been a trend in restaurant chains and retailers to use cutting-edge software enabling businesses to amend shifts at the last minute to suit their needs.
According to Schneiderman, albeit such practice results in efficiency, it actually disrupts the schedule of employees who have no idea how long they shall work what time their shift would start.
“Unpredictable work schedules take a toll on all employees, especially those in low-wage sectors,” Schneiderman wrote as quoted by CBS News. “Workers who must be ‘on call’ have difficulty making reliable child care and elder care arrangements, encounter obstacles in pursuing their education, and in general experience adverse financial and health effects, as well as overall stress and strain on family life,” he continued.
In his letter to Schneiderman, Bostrom assured Abercrombie will no longer require its shift and hourly workers to make their “schedules open for shifts they might not be asked to work.” At seven days ahead, workers will also receive a copy of their schedule.