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I work at a large company as a consultant, paid hourly. The company is open on Black Friday but it is optional to come in to work. All my team mates, who are FT salaried employees, are taking that day off.

While I certainly have things I can do without their presence or assistance (I am a developer), I was wondering about the etiquette of asking to work and bill hours that day considering the off status of most others. I am interested in working because if I don't work, I don't get paid but also I am a lot more productive when it is peaceful around.

Is it rude or perceived greedy of me to ask to work on a day that the client is formally open but all my coworkers are off?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

My point of view is also that of a consultant, so do take that in mind when reading my answer.

There is nothing wrong with working on such a date. If the company is open for business on this day (formally so) and it is an optional day off for the salaried personnel, then this is a working day like all others, as far as you are concerned.

Of course it is in your interest to work in such a day, which doesn't really have much meaning to you - consider that as far as the salaries personnel are concerned, they are getting a free day off, so it is in their interest to take it.

In the same vein, it is fine to work the days between Christmas and the New Year if the company is officially open on those days, even if all your salaried colleagues have taken these days off.

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Even when we are not open for business, we rarely have an issue with a consultant choosing to work on a holiday as we know they don't get paid holidays. I would just let the boss know in advance that you want to work that day and make sure it is approved in advance. –  HLGEM Nov 19 '12 at 21:22

Check with the boss, don't worry about being greedy. If you work, then you get paid, that's a perfectly reasonable deal and no reason to think of it as greedy.

It WOULD be greedy, if you intented to come in, do nothing, claim you did, and take money for that. So, instead, check with the boss. Have a list prepped of things you can do with no FT employees about, and you may even consider that there are a few clean up type tasks that may go better with fewer people around so long as you can truly do them without help. The conversation "how about I make things work more smoothly while everyone is out?" is pretty much any boss' dream come true.

In those cases, you're maximizing your value and checking in and not taking anything for granted.

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If your place of employment is open, and you have the opportunity to work, then there is absolutely nothing rude or greedy to ask to work on those days. Now, that being said, the company could say no, but it certainly won't be a negative mark against you for asking. In fact, that you are clarifying the situation would be a good mark for you, I would imagine -- it certainly would be for me if I were your boss.

The situation would be different if your place of employment were not officially open, which you've carefully noted is not the case.

In my own company, we have several different types of employees -- full time salaried who are overtime-eligible, full time salaried who are not overtime-eligible, and contract workers who are also overtime eligible. We have company holidays -- days when the business is technically closed -- as well as floating company holidays -- days when parts of the business are closed but others aren't -- and we take this approach: if we are open, we work. If we are sort of open and you want to work, then work. If we are not open, but there is work to be done and you want to do it -- regardless of your status -- then say so and we'll pay you to work. For us, it comes down to communicating expectations (both sides), and I would imagine it's the same in other places, so just have that conversation with your supervisor and please don't worry you're stepping out of line, because you're not (from my perspective).

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