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Gap Inc. Eliminates On-Call Scheduling Practices

A win for workers — and for the New York Attorney General.
A Gap store. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Gap store. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The practice among retailers of scheduling store employees for "on-call" hours (during which they are required to be available, but are not paid unless they're called in) came to the fore in April when the New York Attorney General sent letters to 13 major brands requesting information about their use of such shifts. Those companies included Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Gap Inc., the last of which announced Wednesday that it will no longer be using on-call scheduling.

"Over the past several weeks, Heads of Stores have informed their organizations of their shared commitment to eliminate the use of on-call shifts across our global organization," Banana Republic Global President Andi Owen wrote in a blog post Wednesday on behalf of Gap Inc. “This work began earlier in the summer; and all five brands have aligned on a complete phase-out of this practice by the end of September 2015."

All of Gap Inc.'s brands — which also include Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy — will also be moving to inform employees of their schedules 10 to 14 days in advance by 2016. 

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With on-call shifts, retailers can wait until the night or a few hours before a shift to inform workers whether they'll be needed that day. It's great from the store's perspective, allowing it to operate more efficiently by staffing according to expected demand. But it's not so awesome for employees who need to get a babysitter or work a second job, which is what concerned New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in the first place. 

"I commend Gap for taking an important step to make their employees' schedules fairer and more predictable," he said in a statement Wednesday.

Gap is the latest in a string of retailers who have recently eliminated on-call shifts. Earlier this month, Abercrombie & Fitch did the same, as did Victoria's Secret in June.