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Urban Outfitters asks salaried employees to work weekends for free

Christmas Shoppers Hunt For Gifts On The High StreetChristmas Shoppers Hunt For Gifts On The High Street
Christmas shoppers walk outside Urban Outfitters. Photograph by Dan Dennison — Getty Images

While corporate volunteering typically involves cleaning up a nearby park or pro bono legal assistance, the parent company of Urban Outfitters, URBN (URBN), is getting creative. On Tuesday, according to a report by Gawker confirmed by Fortune, the company asked its corporate office salaried workers if they’d like to work for free.

The email, which bore the subject line “A Call for URBN Volunteers!” requested that the office workers “work side by side with your GFC colleagues to help pick, pack and ship orders for our wholesale and direct customers.” (In exchange for the weekend volunteer work, the employees would be compensated with lunch and transportation to the center in Gap, Penn., from the corporate home base in Philadelphia.)

The sprawling Gap, Penn. facility, sought to hire as many as 500 hourly employees to fulfill orders when it opened this spring. According to a local news report, the minimum pay for those without experience was $10.80 an hour, though an URBN representative said wages tended to be higher.

According to a statement by URBN, salaried workers provided a “tremendous” response to the call for volunteers. “Many hourly employees also offered to pitch in – an offer which we appreciated, but declined in order to ensure full compliance with all applicable labor laws and regulations,” the statement said.