New York investigates retailers over unpredictable schedules

“New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has sent a letter to 13 retailers asking for information about how they schedule employees for work, the Wall Street Journal reports. Not on the list of targets for the attorney general: CVS, Starbucks, or Costco.” New York is one of eight states with a “reporting-time” statute that, Schneiderman argues, requires an employer to pay for at least four hours of work when it has obtained employees’ agreement to be available for work, whether or not it actually calls on them to come in. [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism; NPR]


  • What next? Investigate shoppers for unpredictable buying behaviors?

  • Excluding based on political issues would be unethical. But the law itself is probably sensible.

    Locking in time won’t cost the employer all that much–honestly, most folks have a very good idea how much staffing they need, and it isn’t all that much harder to assign shifts 2-3 days in advance than it is to do it 12 hours in advance.

    But that small cost to employers is easily balanced by the benefits. It vastly increases the ability of workers to be OTHERWISE economically productive, which usually requires at least some advance planning. You’re going to give an employee 20 hours a week anyway–why not do it in a manner which allows them to work a few side gigs and double their marginal income? Why not do it in a way that allows them to schedule for caretaking, and thus to reduce their sick days? Etc.

    It’s a payback far in excess of, say, raising the minimum wage.

  • outside of the soundness of the law policy… I am shocked that there might be even a scent of corruption in New York.

  • I’m confused by this post. The NPR article doesn’t say anything about Starbucks or Costco. The other website makes some kind of innuendo which even it admits is unfounded: “Maybe there is some good reason for this.”

    Yeah, maybe there is some good reason for this, like maybe those employers weren’t suspected or reported to have engaged in the illegal behavior? There are 100,000+ employers in New York and 13 received letters, so why this innuendo about 3 of the 99,987+ employers who didn’t receive letters?