For the last year and half State regulators discussed changes to on-call scheduling rules, which were widely panned by the business community. The most recent iteration drew jeers from business and labor alike leading the Department of Labor the scrap the whole thing.
The goal of the rule change was to give some retail and service employers the flexibility to schedule a worker’s shift at the last minute based on the needs of the business. The last iteration of the rule change would have required most businesses to schedule workers’ shifts at least two weeks in advance and pay workers for an additional two hours of work if they were called in with less notice. Also, workers would receive two hours of call-in pay if their shift was canceled within the two-week window, and four hours of pay if it happened within three days of the scheduled shift.
From the worker’s perspective the extra pay is needed for protection from last-minute schedule changes that can limit pay, as well as ability to schedule child care or other personal activities. From the business’s perspective, particularly those affected by the weather, these requirements and mandatory wages would hurt their bottom lines.
In 2016, national retailers Aeropostale, Disney, Zumiez, PacSun, Carter’s and David’s Tea struck a deal with then-state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to end the use of call-in scheduling in New York. This came following a slew of agreements in 2015 from Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and the parent company of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret.
It is important to note that this matter is not over. Certainly, the Attorney General’s office can continue to seek arrangements with larger retailers. Moreover, some legislators in Albany as well as the Department of Labor believe this matter will be resolved through legislation which would implement a comprehensive overhaul. However, finding the balance between giving employers flexibility and workers predictability is a fine line to walk.