End Controversial On-Call Scheduling for Low-Wage Workers

Target: Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General

Goal: Bring an end to the controversial scheduling practice that leads to unpredictable work weeks for low-wage employees.

On-call scheduling is making work-life balance impossible for employees in certain industries. This practice allows employers to schedule workers for a set amount of hours per day but does no guarantee employees will actually be needed to work those hours.

Workers scheduled for an on-call shift must call in to their employers shortly before the shift’s scheduled start. If needed, they must be ready to work. If not, their entire schedule has been rearranged simply to fit the needs of their employers. They must adjust travel plans and child care plans last minute due to unpredictable hours. In addition, pay varies unpredictably from week to week.

Retail workers and restaurant workers are already some of the lowest-paid employees in the United States. Millions do not earn more than minimum wage and already struggle to find a work-life balance that fits their needs. It is already difficult to find child care services for a job that requires odd working hours and seasonal needs.

Many workers only learn of their schedules a week in advance. On-call scheduling only adds to this burden and despite working a schedule around hours that may or may not be filled, workers are not compensated for their time.

The attorney generals of eight states have investigated popular retail chains for on-call scheduling.  In New York, employers such as Sears and J.C. Penney were among the nearly dozen of stores investigated. After the slew of investigations, some retailers like Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch have begun to phase out the controversial practice. Others, however, have not, despite findings that many employers do not enforce on-call regulations that would better protect low-wage workers and their rights.

It is time for a federal investigation into this scheduling practice. Sign the petition to urge Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the scheduling practices of the nation’s largest and most popular employers so that workers who are already treated unfairly at the hands of large corporations do not have to struggle even more.


Dear Attorney General Lynch,

Some of America’s hardest workers are also the nation’s lowest paid. Millions work for wages that are barely above minimum wage and struggle to provide for themselves and their families. To add to their burden, many employers engage in a practice known as on-call scheduling. In this controversial practice, employees must be available to work on certain days, even though they may not be needed. This leads to an unpredictable work-life balance for millions of workers.

Eight states have already launched investigations into the practice and how it is carried out by the nation’s largest retailers. They have found that many retailers do not enforce government regulations in regards to on-call scheduling. While some retailers have cooperated with investigations and have begun to phase out this practice, others have not. I urge you to launch a federal investigation into this practice so that it may come to an end and workers are no longer taken advantage of at the hands of large corporations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Markusspiske

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