December 10, 2023 at 6:22 pm

‘You can’t go home until your replacement arrives.’ Company Demands Employee Stay On The Job, So They Made Them Pay Dearly

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/@Augustus_B_McFee

Oh, this is gonna cost you

Have you ever said that to someone before?

If you haven’t, let me fill you in…

You say it when YOU MEAN BUSINESS.

And the worker who wrote this story on Reddit was no doubt saying that in their head when this situation unfolded.

Need me to stay back and cover a shift? This will cost you big time.

“This comes from about 15+ years ago, when I was (and still am) working with people with disabilities in a community home.

There’s a lot of turnover at this job.

It’s a great job for those who like it, a terrible one for those who don’t, meaning that any staff you meet are either very new, or long term like myself. As a consequence the turn over rate of staff is high, and replacement staff are slow to be hired meaning, you often find shifts not covered straight away.

This is an industry where simply not having a shift filled isn’t an option particularly where I work, in a house with a single day staff, and a single night staff. Each working 12 shifts on a 7 day spread over 2 weeks roster.

The rules are clear.

There are some strict rules regarding hours you can work. Intended to avoid burn out, but more used to keep a rein of over time which, in our industry payed +70% your hourly rate for the first 3 hours above your 76 hour fortnightly maximum and +100% for any time after that. You can’t demand overtime but if they require you to work longer they can’t not pay you overtime.

Also worth noting is that the people we work with are vulnerable meaning they cannot be left unsupervised.

And there’s one sticking point.

Long story short, you can’t go home until your replacement arrives.

So back in the early 2000’s we were having problems locating staff, lots of people working overtime and a lot of fresh faces appearing and disappearing.

The house I worked in wasn’t difficult in particular. 4 adults with intellectual disability, but there was no support by which I mean the worker there had to fend for themselves. There was no supervisor in the next building, they were miles and miles away.

They put in extra time to make sure these folks were safe.

I’d frequently at this time had to stay back half an hour, an hour, waiting for staff to come replace me. I was less than happy with the way it was handled each time I called the office to tell them ‘the night staff haven’t arrived, do you know who is booked?’ To which I’d get the reply ‘we are still looking, how late can you stay?’

They were clear about where they stood.

The obvious answer was ‘until I’m replaced’ but what I often said was ‘I prefer not to stay after the end of my shift, but that doesn’t seem to matter now, so I’ll stay here until someone comes’

Each time a new face arrived I’d give them all the information they’d need for the shift, introduce them, walk them through their duties etc. this would take 20-30 minutes.

The point being is I don’t just jump ship when a staff arrives to replace me. This is someone’s home, and I like them, so I’m not going to leave them in the hands of someone uninformed.

Then, one weekend…

Cut to ‘that weekend’.

My roster had me working 12 hour days Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Come Friday night, my replacement didn’t arrive. I waited. I sent a text message to the supervisor after 15 mins, then called after 30. Left a message, and when they eventually called back I could tell they had not found a replacement.

I told them I’d stay until they did. This was by that time, an hour after I was meant to finish. 10pm.

They waited and waited…

Come 11 they call and say they simply can’t find a replacement. They offer a ‘deal’ and say if I stay and do the night shift, I can take the next shift off. ‘It’s pretty even so you won’t miss out’ they said. Then they changed their tone and said, it’s not really a request, we have no other option. Treat this as a direction.

I reminded them it was a passive house meaning you got half the hourly rate from midnight but you could sleep in the bed provided so I’d actually be taking a pay cut.

They had an idea.

They didn’t know what else they could do so I made a suggestion.

I’d say and do the night shift, but I wasn’t going to give up my next shift. I was going to do that one as well.

They agreed (it meant they didn’t need to find a replacement for me in the morning so they thought it was a good deal for them.)

It was however, and even better deal for me.

It took a few emails over the weekend with the union to sort out the particulars but what happened was this.

It was OT time, baby!

Once I couldn’t leave my worksite because of a lack of replacement, I was on overtime. As this overtime was because of a direction (not voluntary) it remained in place until I went home.

Because I didn’t agree to drop my following day shift, my overtime continued till I ended on Saturday night. The upshot being that, working 36 hours in a row, resulted in the equivalent of 60 hours pay.

The company wised up pretty fast.

I was the first person to (as they say) ‘pull this stunt’ and word got around that if you didn’t get replaced you were actually the person who was in a position of power.

It didn’t take long until the department put a little more effort into training and employing extra staff, so something like this never happened again.

Not at least, to me.”

Check out what Reddit users had to say.

One person loved this story and said this industry needs more people like them.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another individual is worried about the future for their child.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This Reddit user shared a similar story.

Source: Reddit/AITA

A reader has dealt with situations like this at their job.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And one person said they did the right thing.

Source: Reddit/AITA

You gotta pay your workers if you want them around.

You better believe that’s the truth!