The Wall Street Journal: Bath & Body Works to End On-Call Scheduling

The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2015

by Lauren Weber

Bath & Body Works, which is owned by L Brands Inc., next month will end the controversial practice of on-call scheduling in its U.S. stores, the company said Tuesday.

Retailers using on-call scheduling require store employees to show up for work or stay home with little notice, based on the day’s store traffic and sales.

That system helps companies’ flexibility with their staffing needs but leaves workers with unpredictable schedules and incomes.

The Bath & Body Works decision comes five months after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned L Brands and 12 other retailers that on-call scheduling may violate a state law holding that staffers who report to work for a scheduled shift are entitled to at least four hours of pay at minimum wage, even if they are sent home.

 

“Employees deserve stable and reliable work schedules to adequately plan for childcare, transportation, and other basic needs. I commend Bath & Body Works for taking this important step,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement Tuesday.

L Brands declined to comment further.

Victoria’s Secret, also owned by L Brands, decided earlier this year to discontinue the practice, along with Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Gap Inc.

Schedule instability has become a public-policy issue in recent months, highlighted in hourly workers’ campaigns for higher wages.

Legislators in more than 10 states have proposed legislation that would give workers greater control over their schedules and guarantee them advance notice of the shifts they are expected to work.