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I work a part time job, so it lends itself to weird hours. It's seasonal, so I don't get overtime pay, and we use a scheduling app like When I Work to get our schedules and check timesheets.

My boss, however, is really bad at scheduling people. Usually, schedules are sent out < 1 week in advance and there's actually been a day where we were asked to come in 2 hours early the next day (that was upper management's fault). In the app, we can also set availability - but there are only three options:

  1. Set yourself as available for a time period during the day
  2. Leave yourself "unspecified"
  3. Request time off (only comes in whole-day blocks)

So, I've been putting in availability around times where I have to be places- ie I was available from 1-closing today.

My boss completely ignores these availabilities and schedules me anyways. I was actually scheduled to work today all day even though I wasn't available. I emailed him and he said I was off the hook, but to please find someone to cover for me.

The problem with all of this is that we are hilariously understaffed, so almost everyone who doesn't have time off is working that day, so it is extremely hard to find a replacement in general.

Another problem we face is hours - due to understaffing, I was actually scheduled to work 62 hours last week, with no rate increase because, as mentioned above, my employer is exempt from overtime laws. Fortunately, we closed early one day and I got another day off.

How can I make it clear to my boss that my availability is set for a reason, and that I do not intend to work absurd hours every week?

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    You could also tell your boss that finding replacements is his job, not yours. If you find a replacement then you should be paid for the time it took you, at your manager's rate. – gnasher729 Jun 11 '18 at 21:36
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    @JoeStrazzere I have chatted with him about this, but when that happens, it generally turns into me getting a half-shift in the morning half (since I usually schedule things in the evening), then once I'm supposed to get off he says something like "you can stay the rest of the day and make some money, and also help your coworkers since we are already low on staff today." Obviously I leave because I made a commitment, but it still feels bad since I am making my coworker's lives harder through this decision. – Jackson1442 Jun 11 '18 at 21:38
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    "my employer is exempt from overtime laws" - please provide a location / country. This is hard to believe. – Wesley Long Jun 11 '18 at 21:40
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    Texas, United States - this is a seasonal facility so they are not required to provide overtime. I have checked this out, since I didn't believe it either when I was told. – Jackson1442 Jun 11 '18 at 21:41
  • @JoeStrazzere That was my initial thought, I had put some feelers out in a different part time field (that's not seasonal) so we'll see how that pans out. I just wanted to make sure this wasn't standard across many part time jobs, really. – Jackson1442 Jun 11 '18 at 21:49
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My boss completely ignores these availabilities and schedules me anyways. I was actually scheduled to work today all day even though I wasn't available.

The problem with all of this is that we are hilariously understaffed, so almost everyone who doesn't have time off is working that day, so it is extremely hard to find a replacement in general.

Sounds like it's not so much that your boss "sucks" at scheduling, moreso that he essentially has an impossible task (to respect everyone's availabilities while still filling the schedule, all while being grossly understaffed.) This means he's probably deliberately ignoring availabilities, because he's got no other option.

So in this instance, you haven't really got many options:

  • Put up with things as they are.
  • Push back when your boss asks you to find cover - "Sorry, I'm afraid I don't have the time to do that today."
  • Agree to email round to ask for cover, but make it clear that you're still not available, whether you can find cover or not - "Sure, I'll see if I can find anyone, but I'm afraid I can't agree to work then even if no-one else is available."
  • Talk to your boss, ask if there's anything you're doing wrong with the scheduling app, as you've noticed you're often scheduled when you've marked yourself as unavailable. (Phrasing is important here.)
  • Find a new job.

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