Naperville Business Attorney Discusses On-Call Scheduling

scheduling, Naperville employment law attorneyWhen you own a business that relies on a team of employees, you owe a great deal of your success to the efforts of your staff. In return, you have the ability to offer them competitive wages and the security of working for a company that appreciates their dedication and hard work. In many sectors, however, increasing costs have pushed businesses to look for ways to save money, and labor expenses are often among the first targets. One way in which some companies try to control labor costs is through on-call scheduling, a practice which has recently come under fire from workers’ rights groups and the Attorneys General of several states.

As a business law attorney, I certainly understand the importance of saving money whenever possible. I also recognize, however, that your employees are your most valuable assets, and they deserve predictability regarding wages and professional expectations. If your company utilizes on-call scheduling, it may be time to reconsider your approach.

On-Call Scheduling in Retail

You have probably heard of a doctor or other health professional being “on-call,” meaning that he or she must be available to respond to developing situations immediately. Other businesses, such as veterinary hospitals or organizations that help people with special needs may require their employees to be on-call on weekends, for example, on a rotating schedule. The practice of on-call scheduling, however, has spread to the retail industry, with stores requiring employees to prepare for an on-call shift without any guarantee that they will need to actually work.

The biggest problem with on-call scheduling is that employees cannot depend on being needed, so they cannot count on getting paid. They are also not able to make other plans for the day—including taking a shift at a second job—because they could be required to work.

Pressure from Several States

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been at the forefront of the issue this year, leading a group of his colleague in seven other states—including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan—in putting pressure on retailers to curtail on-call scheduling. Schneiderman issued a statement saying that on-call scheduling “should be a thing of the past.” He added that “people should not have to keep the day open, arrange for child care, and give up other opportunities without being compensated for their time.”

While it is unclear whether their moves were in response to the efforts of the Attorneys General, several major retailers recently announced that they have discontinued on-call scheduling. Earlier this week, the New York Attorney General’s office confirmed that the Disney Store, Aeropostale, PacSun, Carter’s, and Zumiez have joined retailers including Victoria’s Secret, J. Crew, and Urban Outfitters in doing away with the unpredictable system.

Creating a Reasonable Shift Schedule

Very few employment experts believe that there will be any major policy change regarding on-call scheduling from the federal government in the next few years. This means that the onus of protecting workers will fall on the states and each individual employer.

If you would like to discuss your workforce strategy, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney today. Call The Gierach Law Firm at 630-756-1160 and get the guidance you need from a lawyer with more than 30 years of business law experience.



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