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J.Crew Ends Controversial On-Call Scheduling

The retailer follows Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gap in ending the practice nationwide.

Posted on October 23, 2015, at 5:54 p.m. ET

Mike Mozart / Via

J.Crew will end the controversial practice of on-call scheduling in its stores, following pressure from workers, advocates, and regulators to halt the practice. The company will make the change nationwide by the end of the month, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s office announced Friday.

The move will affect tens of thousands of retail workers, who previously could be scheduled for shifts that could be cancelled just hours before starting time, with no compensation. A BuzzFeed News story in June focused on the difficulties retail workers face managing work, life, school, and family amid the system's unpredictable hours and pay.

J.Crew's decision to end the practice is the latest since the attorney general's office opened an inquiry into on-call scheduling last April, sending letters to 13 major retailers warning their scheduling practices may be in violation of state law. Collectively, the brands operated more than 16,000 stores in North America.

"Workers deserve protections that allow them to have a reliable schedule in order to arrange for transportation to work, to accommodate child care needs, and to budget their family finances," Schneiderman said in a statement Friday.

J. Crew has also agreed to provide one week of advance notice about schedules to employees at New York store locations (though not nationwide), according to the attorney general's office.

J.Crew Senior Vice President Maria Di Lorenzo confirmed the news to the AP, saying on-call shifts have helped the company manage staff absences and changeable product deliveries. Di Lorenzo said the company will now fill shifts on a voluntary basis, adding new pressures for managers. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Chains including Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch have all agreed to end on-call scheduling at their stores in recent months. (L Brand owns both Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret, and the Gap also owns lines Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta.) Urban Outfitters has stopped the practice only at its New York locations.