Urban Outfitters is the Latest Retailer to Eliminate On-Call Scheduling

The company joins Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch in doing so.
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Eliza Brooke
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The company joins Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch in doing so.
An Urban Outfitters store. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An Urban Outfitters store. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The New York Attorney General's office continues to make headway in its mission to stop unfair employee scheduling practices among major retailers. On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office announced that Urban Outfitters has agreed to end the use of on-call shifts in its New York stores, starting in November.

On-call shifts allow store managers to wait until the night before to inform staffers whether or not they'll be needed at work. In April, Schneiderman's office sent letters to 13 retailers, including Gap Inc. and Target, asking for information about their scheduling practices. The problem with on-call systems is that they prevent employees from mapping out their plans in advance; as Scheiderman wrote in a statement Wednesday, workers "deserve basic protections, including a reliable work schedule that allows them to budget living expenses, arrange for childcare needs, and plan their days."

Urban Outfitters is now the fifth retailer to engage in discussions with Schneiderman's team and cease on-call shifts, following Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works, Gap Inc. and Victoria's Secret. A rep for Urban Outfitters Inc. did not immediately respond to request for comment on the plan for scaling back on-call shifts nationwide and whether that will apply to all of its brands, which include Free People, Anthropologie and the company's namesake chain.