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Language: English

Eliminating the 'On-Call' Controversy



The law of unintended consequences has struck retail labor. In an effort to protect workers from the lifestyle disruptions and inconvenience of being scheduled for very short shifts, such as working only for an hour during peak traffic, many states and municipalities have passed minimum shift laws requiring payment for a minimum number of hours whenever associates are scheduled or called in to work.

Due to the uncertainties around scheduling for things such as promotions, holiday traffic, inbound shipments, weather changes and other labor demand spikes, however, many retailers have resorted to putting associates “on-call” to avoid the financial penalties these laws impose. Thus, the laws intended to protect associates from disruptive scheduling practices have often done just the opposite. Recently, the New York attorney general, as well as other state and local authorities, have begun to question the legality of on-call scheduling practices, claiming they are illegally subverting the minimum shift laws. As usual, retailers are caught in the middle.

There doesn’t have to be this controversy, however. Today’s advanced workforce management systems can eliminate the need for on-call scheduling through “right-size” scheduling.


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