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  #1  
Old 10-25-2016, 11:47 PM
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jackfaire jackfaire is offline
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So my contract was ended yesterday because I dared to feel that a family emergency was important enough to ask permission to leave work early for.

For months my family's oven/stove has been broken. We have desperately been trying to get our landlord to fix it but every step of the way turns into a giant game of phone tag. My folks both suffer from severe social anxiety and depression issues. Especially when it comes to landlords because the last one we had kicked us out with little to no warning (we got the legal 20 days and were then lied to as the reason) so that she could rent the place to my little brother.

So after so many run arounds from our current landlord about a simple repair my folks have been freaking out. So I took over and called the landlord and demanded to know when a person would come to our home and look at our damn stove. The thing that elevated this to an emergency is that our microwave broke over the weekend. As of Monday morning we no longer had the means to cook food. The Property Management company told me they would be sending someone over same day so I called my stepdad to tell him that he and my mom needed to be up and dressed for the person. Only to find out he was 3 cities away and my mom doesn't currently own a phone.

Not wanting to miss the guy because my mom didn't know to expect him and have it be another long set of months in which we would starve due to lack of food that doesn't need to be cooked I opted to leave work.

I went to find my supervisor realizing he wasn't there for the day I went to his second in command. He gave me the go-ahead to leave and I left. While waiting for the guy who fixed our stove I was contacted by my temp agency and advised that the client had ended the contract due to my family emergency and they were moving me to the available for assignment board and to please keep in contact with my availability.

Now I personally, even knowing it would result in me being laid off, would make the exact same decision because a job does me no good if i am starving or suffering food poisoning from eating uncooked food.

But the thing that truly caught my attention about this is that most of the permanent employees at the client's had breakfast at work because they were expected to work 12 hour days 6 days a week. Apparently this is due to the company's refusal to hire enough employees and to instead overwork the ones they have and hire temps to fill in the gaps. The person who was my direct supervisor has been working there since I was six years old and has been unable to get any higher at the company than he is now.

I think not only is this whole thing messed up but I feel that I did nothing wrong in addressing my personal issues as being of equal importance to being at work.
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2016, 02:00 PM
s_stabeler s_stabeler is offline
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I can see several problems- from a moral point of view, legally, unfortunately, if you are in an at-will state (which is most of them) they are within their rights to fire you for any non-discriminatory reason- even literally no reason- they like.
1. you had permission- a company should never require an employee to second-guess a superior on a matter of policy. As such, if anyone should get inot trouble, it is the 2IC.
2. It's absolutely ridiculous not to allow an employee to leave early due to a family emergency. Leaving aside the moral issues, you aren't going to be much use at work while worrying about your mother.
3. that is an utterly ridiculous workweek to require an employee to perform. That is a 72 hour workweek- over here, that would be 2 full-time jobs, plus a couple more hours. I would be double-checking that i was getting both paid for the hours I put in and overtime as appropriate ( anything over 40 hours in a week is overtime no matter what any employment contract- or your employer- says. I very much doubt you are exempt either, so they DO need to pay you for each and every hour worked.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:19 PM
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jackfaire jackfaire is offline
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3. that is an utterly ridiculous workweek to require an employee to perform. That is a 72 hour workweek- over here, that would be 2 full-time jobs, plus a couple more hours. I would be double-checking that i was getting both paid for the hours I put in and overtime as appropriate ( anything over 40 hours in a week is overtime no matter what any employment contract- or your employer- says. I very much doubt you are exempt either, so they DO need to pay you for each and every hour worked.
*nods* As a temp I didn't have to work those hours because our temp agency wouldn't sign off on paying us for that overtime. Those permanent employees who work those hours are absolutely paid overtime and the At Will status of our state is how they get away with it.

It's basically a "We really need you to work this many hours and we will pay you for it but if for some reason you can't do that we may just not need you at all anymore"
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Old 10-31-2016, 03:19 AM
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How is it cheaper to pay that much overtime than to hire more people?
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:58 PM
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How is it cheaper to pay that much overtime than to hire more people?
For the same reason that paying a company $5 a month to hold your money is cheaper than a free checking account.

Hidden costs.

It's not just hourly wages they also have to pay permanent employees sick leave, vacation days, and health insurance. I am assuming their accountants crunched the numbers and figured out that 20 employees working almost 2 weeks worth of work every week costs them less than 40 employees working 1 week. Sure they have to pay overtime but if that overtime cost is less than the cost of health insurance and benefits for an additional 20 people then it's worth it.

Same reasons companies use temps instead of hiring regular employees it's cheaper even though hourly seems like it wouldn't be.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:28 PM
s_stabeler s_stabeler is offline
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which is why overtime really needs to be more than time-and-a-half. It costs-IIRC- roughly twice the actual wages of the employee to employ somebody.(this is between the employer half of social security, any benefits offered, sick leave, you get the idea) while overtime is time-and-a-half. As such, from a business perspective, it's cheaper to work employees like slaves than to hire a new employee.

Overtime is supposed to be used to cover for unexpected emergencies- like too many staff members being off sick at once- not be something that occurs every week.That's why I personally think overtime should be at least two-and-a-half-time. It means overtime is more expensive than hiring an extra employee to split the workload.
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:25 PM
NecCat NecCat is offline
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How is it cheaper to pay that much overtime than to hire more people?
Depends on the business. If the training times (in our case around 100 days in they start getting 'useful') are greater than the turnover it works out a lot cheaper to pay overtime when it's busy than to hire more employees for the parts of the year with the most workload.

Our guys are currently running an average of 85 hours a week. They know that this will keep up until February-ish, then they will be lucky to get 30 hours a week until April, it will bump up again for May and June to about 45-50 hours and then drop down in the summer to about 20 until September, when it will start to ramp up and be 85 or 90 by October again. This is an extremely predictable part of our business. We paid more overtime hours this week then we paid regular hours (anything over 44 per employee is overtime here).

We stand a good chance of losing 15% of our work force every year when it slows down, which means about 1/5 - 1/4 guys are under sixty days experience when it is busy. Hiring more people for busy times would mean more employees lost in slow times and increase that ratio of new:experienced employees to unmanageable levels.

The guys we have that stay make a nice annual salary. Some of them choose to bank overtime hours and make more consistent weekly pay all year, others take the pay week by week and make do in the lean times. Staffing enough to get rid of the overtime when we were busy would also decrease our guys annual pay to about the level of minimum wage (I think its about $11/hour here) so $23,000/year. Not very easy to live on here where housing is expensive.

tl/dr version: It is cheaper annually to have a lot of overtime when it is busy and keep experienced staff than to have no overtime, high turnover and employees with too low an annual salary to live on.
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2016, 12:36 AM
wolfie wolfie is offline
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NeoCat, from what you've described (slow enough in summer that they lose people), it sounds like someone who wanted to take an extended vacation (more than 2 weeks) in summer wouldn't have a problem - hours that they're not getting are available to be divided among other workers. Does anyone ever take advantage of this opportunity?
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2016, 04:04 AM
NecCat NecCat is offline
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It isn't a problem if people want time off in the summer, or if they want to go somewhere hot and beachy in February when it's cold. We have one employee who takes three months off every summer and works for someone else. The problem is that most employees want the same few weeks off every fall for hunting, when we are busiest and they are competing for time off with everyone else. We end up with unhappy employees every fall that some time off requests weren't honoured.
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