New Scheduling Rules To Squeeze Employees

April 2, 2012

Just months after appointing a new retail chief, and in the midst of continuing workplace complaints by retail store employees, Apple is revising its scheduling practices that will pressure employees who are already suffering from larger crowds of visitors. Apple’s stores have become more crowded, noisy, and stressful as their products have risen in popularity and more products have come to market. In fact, some stores have seen their visitor traffic double annually over the past four years, sources say. The increased traffic means staffers must sell, train and repair while elbow-to-elbow with colleagues, or even customers, and amidst more distractions and noise. Now, the company is changing weekend work requirements, and increasing the mandatory minimum hours for part-timers. The changes seem to have substantial benefits for Apple, but few for its employees, and could result in many resignations from employees who are unable to comply with the new requirements.

First, even loyal and veteran full-time employees will face increased stress with a revision of the existing weekend work requirements. Right now, full-timers are required to work at least one weekend day each week, either Saturday or Sunday. The requirement gives the employees at least one weekend day off. Soon, Apple will add Friday to its official list of “weekend days,” and full-timers must work two of those three days, or possibly a shift that includes both Saturday and Sunday. The changes will affect Family Room and Red Zone Specialists, Creatives and Geniuses, and seems to stem from a recognition of increased store traffic on Fridays.

Full-time employees must already accommodate Apple by being available to work every hour their store is open, up to 40 hours per week. Part-timers must also offer wide availability, but only for a certain 40-hour window determined by management.

The new rules will also squeeze part-time workers, raising their minimum weekly commitment from 16 hours to 24 hours. While the increased hours and pay might be welcome for some employees, the new rules could also serve to limit second job possibilities. The rules could also create conflicts for part-time workers with education, family or other on-going commitments.

The company is apparently aware that many employees may be unable to meet the new scheduling requirements because of existing commitments, and may resign. Apple has told employees they will try to accommodate time-off requests (made three weeks in advance), apparently to mitigate the no-weekends-off shifts for full-time employees. However, there could be a substantial number of part-time workers who cannot commit to working more hours, and will have to quit their employment with Apple.

The new work rules will reportedly become effective on April 15th.

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