Friday, June 22, 2012

Good Employee Ch10- The 40 Hour Paradox

Chapter 10

The 40 Hour Paradox (You are not guaranteed forty hours a week)

Nothing is more frustrating to a manager than to have an employee who misses work during the week then tries to make up his hours with afterhours work. Do this for too long and a smart manager is going to figure out what you are doing and then start scrutinizing your attendance and the quality and quantity of your make up time. You are in danger if this is happening to you now. Stop and do everything you can to get to work on time Monday morning.

On employee in my past tried this. He would call in to say he was going to be 2 hours late for some reason or other and then he would stay 2 hours late to make up the time. Or towards the end of the pay period, he would calculate his hours and see he was 20 hours short and since he was a service engineer, he would find service calls to respond to in the queue and spend 20 hours over a Saturday and Sunday “taking care of the extra workload” in his words. What he was really doing was making the assumption many employees with poor attendance make – that he is entitled to 40 hours a week. Unfortunately for him, that was not the case.

Here’s how it works. Your employer is not required to give you 40 hours a week of regular pay unless you work 40 hours regular. He is not required to pay you over time unless you work overtime. If you are a full time employee, he would like you to work 40 hours a week because out of the revenue you help generate he is paying you benefits given to employees who work 40 hours a week. If you frequently do not work 40 hours a week as a full time employee, your manager is paying you for benefits for which you no longer qualify.

The employee example I use in this chapter found out the hard way, when he received his weeks pay to find that since I could not prove he worked the 20 extra hours (he did not clock in or out and there was no documentation to suggest he had actually done any work) I refused to pay him. He took home only half of a normal paycheck. That got his attention, however he was very upset and did not, I am afraid, comport himself very well the next day when I talked to him about it.

The main lesson is this. If you are late coming in to work, unless approved by your manager, you are not supposed to stay late the same amount of time to get your 8 hours. Why? Because your schedule is set to what it is for a reason and that reason is, there is work for you to do during those hours. There frequently will not be enough work for you after hours. Your boss is not going to be too keen on paying you for sitting at your desk when the rest of the staff are gone and the office is closed. Besides, if your manager lets you adjust your schedule when you miss a day or come in late, soon he will have to do that for everyone. And within 6 months he will have lost control of the entire staff. He won’t know who is where and when they are supposed to be there.

You are only entitled to get paid for the hours you work. If you miss time, your manager may allow you to use vacation days to fill in your 40 hours but even that can be at his discretion. If you are out of vacation and try to self-adjust your schedule to compensate for missed time, you may find your paycheck is much smaller than you counted on.

You are not entitled to getting paid for work you did not do or for hours worked that are not approved by the manager. This brings me to a couple of more points before I round out this short chapter.

You are not allowed to work “off the clock”. First of all, I have no earthly clue as to why someone would want to perform work on their own time, without being paid for it. I would suspect someone of having a mental illness like Munchausen Syndrome or something like that. The real reason behind this is you are unprotected for worker’s compensation should you be injured while off the clock. Secondly, you are much harder to supervise if you are working at home without approval and off the clock. A manager, responsible for the financial well being of his office, will not take your word for it for very long – so don’t pull the “I’ve been working off the clock because I am so dedicated” routine. It doesn’t fly and you’ll look stupid.

Do not use your own tools, equipment, or office supplies and for goodness sakes, don’t bring them into the office. You will not be compensated for these and it really just muddies the water when you wind up fired. Eventually I will get to chapter 12 where I will explain in more detail. Again, the main reason for this is your manager can’t control it. Nothing is more frustrating for your boss than to replace a tool that is broken or missing and know it is going back into your personal tool kit and will eventually be taken home by you when he lets you go.

Here are your bullets. Follow them and you will not end up stuck in Chapter 11 of this book.

• Want to get paid for your work. Show up to work when you are supposed to and leave when you are supposed to.

• Do not self-adjust your schedule to make up missed hours and make sure your attendance is such that you are not asking your boss to adjust your schedule for you too often.

• If you perform work, be on the clock. Do not give work for free. Really, your manager will appreciate it.

• Do not use your own tools, equipment, or supplies. It just makes things messy.

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