In the News October 13, 2015

Jim Evans Discusses On-Call Shifts with FSR Magazine

On-call schedules have been a staple of restaurant operations, but new state and local government regulations are forcing changes.

“I think there’s tremendous pressure by regulators,” said Jim Evans, partner in Alston & Bird’s Labor and Employment Group, “Not in all of the states right now, but in specific geographic areas.”

Regulators seem to be targeting big retail and restaurant chains first, Evans said, adding: “Lots of industries are taking advantage of the flexibility of having on-call workers. But retail and restaurants are the most frequent users of on-call shifts, because they’re trying to control payroll expenses in light of unpredictable demand.”

If you think about it, the on-call worker has to put his personal plans on hold,” Evans said. “They can’t be somewhere else. They can’t take a second job unless they want to forgo that on-call shift. It creates a lot of restrictions for the on-call employee, and in turn less predictability in earnings.”

While employers may start shying away from scheduling on-call shifts, Evans said there’s still nothing to stop them from soliciting volunteers when they’re short-handed.

“There’s nothing wrong with calling an employee and saying, ‘I know you’re off today, but would you like to come in and earn some extra money?’” 

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