If you own a business that employs several or more people, chances are you have to be concerned with how best to deal with scheduling. Ten percent of the American workforce is subjected to on-call scheduling practices. Recently, the New York State Attorney General conducted an inquiry regarding the scheduling practices of thirteen major retailers including Gap, Inc., Target, Abercrombie and Fitch, J.C. Penney, Ann Taylor, and Sears. The results of the inquiry found that many of these companies could be violating state employment laws with their on-call scheduling practices. Such practices, the Attorney General found, subjected employees to unpredictable and unfair schedules, which could severely infringe upon their rights.

Following discussions with the Attorney General’s Office, these companies ended on-call scheduling. Previously, the practice had entailed calling employees based upon need. This meant that employees were uncertain whether they would be working a shift until only a few hours before they would be required to show up. Gap, Inc. has been the latest retailer to change its scheduling policies following the inquiry. The company has agreed to schedule employees 10-14 days in advance of a shift.

If you own a business and are scheduling employees, it is important to be concerned with the laws concerning employee scheduling. For example, according to New York State law, employees who are “on-call” and show up must be paid for at least four hours worth of work, regardless of whether they are sent home earlier. The intent of this law is to compensate workers who have spent money on services, such as child care, during their shifts. Additionally, there are also overtime laws that need to be taken into consideration when scheduling shifts.

Scheduling can often be a headache for many employers who operate companies in which employees work in shifts. Many of them look to computer software to help with the process.

Employment law is one aspect of the legal considerations a business must contend with. If you have questions regarding legal rights and responsibilities as a business owner, contact an experienced business attorney. Call Bellavia Blatt, PC at (516) 873-3000 or (631) 224-7000.