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Urban Outfitters latest retailer to end on-call shifts in NY state

Urban Outfitters retail store sign. The clothing chain will phase out short-notice work schedules in New York state.
An Urban Outfitters retail store sign. The clothing chain will phase out short-notice work schedules in New York state. Credit/Getty Images

ALBANY, N.Y. – Urban Outfitters will end on-call scheduling at stores in New York state, becoming the latest retailer to respond to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s inquiry into the practice of requiring workers to report for shifts on short notice.

The U.S. retailer plans to phase in the change next month, Schneiderman said. The company agreed to provide New York employees with work schedules at least one week in advance, he said.

Urban Outfitters, which has several locations spread across Canada in addition to U.S. locations, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Workers deserve basic protections, including a reliable work schedule that allows them to budget living expenses, arrange for childcare needs, and plan their days,” Schneiderman said.

MORE: Retail paycheques have risen in Canada — and so have unsteady hours

In April, his office wrote to 13 major retailers questioning the on-call practice. The letter also cited possible violations of New York’s requirement to pay hourly staff for at least four hours when they report for work.

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Other retailers with agreements are L. Brands’ Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret for their U.S. stores, as well as Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap Inc.

San Francisco-based Gap said its decision also applies to its other brands, including Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta, and the change will apply “across our global organization.”

‘Workers deserve basic protections, including a reliable work schedule’

New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie said it will discontinue call-in shift scheduling in New York by year’s end, with a long-term goal of ending it nationally, the change also applying its other brands Hollister and Abercrombie Kids.

Schneiderman’s office also sent letters to J. Crew Group Inc., Burlington Coat Factory, TJX Companies, Target Corp., Sears Holding Corp., Williams-Sonoma Inc., Crocs, Ann Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

Ongoing review

The office’s review showed that TJX subsidiaries T.J. Maxx and Marshalls don’t use on-call scheduling, spokesman Nick Benson said. The review of other companies is ongoing, he said.

“In response to your question, our office’s review of on-call scheduling remains ongoing. So far we have confirmed that two of the retailers we sent letters to do not utilize on-call scheduling.”

Schneiderman previously targeted New York employers who cheated or underpaid low-wage workers, getting more than $17 million in restitution for about 14,000 workers from fast food franchise owners, construction contractors and others.

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