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I work in a fairly small organization (less than 5 staff). My boss is salaried and keeps their own hours but the rest are hourly workers, each working an 8 hour day. We have flexibility in what time we start our shift and I pick the early start because it just works better for me so I start work at 8 and finish at 4, most of my coworkers start at 8:30 and finish at 4:30.

The problem is my boss frequently shuts things down and lets everyone go home early sometimes as early as 3:30. I get frustrated because it means I work a longer day than my coworkers but we all get paid the same amount of hours. This is a relatively new job for me and when I was asked to pick my shift I wasn’t aware that the office would close down early on some days.

Sometimes it also means that the next morning, because I am there before my coworkers, I have to be the one to catch up on the time sensitive work that should have been completed by my coworkers the day before. It’s not predictable when my boss will let us go early. Sometimes it amounts to me working an extra hour or 1.5 hours a week than another employee, sometimes less and it is always me that works more hours (we are never told we can come in late for example).

Am I being unreasonable in thinking this isn’t fair? Should I just ask to adjust my shift to match my coworkers?

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  • Are you the most recent hire? – dan-klasson Sep 18 '20 at 21:28
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    What is your desired outcome here? Is it that your boss stops letting people go home early - so all your coworkers lose a benefit just so you can feel better? Is it that your boss lets you leave 30 minutes before the other people who leave early - so his decision to be generous on a whim will now have to be made 30 minutes in advance? Is it that he lets you turn up late sometimes - but you've already said that turning up early works better for you? What is it, from this potentially unfair situation, that you want to happen to make it fair in your eyes? – BittermanAndy Sep 19 '20 at 8:12
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    Yes, it's unfair. Happy? – Anonymoot Sep 19 '20 at 16:47
  • Your boss gives you a choice of shifts and occasionally lets you leave early. How is that unfair? If you want to be treated exactly like your coworkers, well...do what they do. – AffableAmbler Sep 20 '20 at 6:56
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Am I being unreasonable in thinking this isn’t fair?

Yes, you are being unreasonable.

Occasionally letting folks go home early doesn't impact you negatively at all. You get to choose your start time and you get to go home 15 minutes early occasionally. Be happy for that, since you should expect to (and are paid to) work a full 8 hours each day.

It's the same as folks who take vacation just before holidays and the boss lets people who work those days leave early. It wouldn't impact your vacation, so you should have no complaints.

If it bothers you that much, then work the normal shift, even though it won't "work better for you". Then you'll work the same amount of hours as the others. Apparently, you get to decide what is more important to you. You can decide if the occasional extra 15 minutes off is worth more than the better shift or not.

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Am I being unreasonable in thinking this isn’t fair?

Yes, I don't see that premise reasonable.

You boss is being allowing everybody to leave earlier, good. It's you who happens to come a bit earlier and thus why you "lose" those 15 minutes.

Anyways, 15 minutes is quite some short time, I wouldn't make a fuss for 15 minutes more or less.

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Even though the effect is minor on a daily basis, I can see where it would be frustrating over time. However, I wouldn't recommend bringing it to your manager as they could see it as looking the gift horse in the mouth and cease the practice altogether. It sounds like they are trying to do something nice for the team, so complaining will look petty.

Instead, you'll have to choose what you are willing to deal with. Weigh the pros and cons of all options. If you decide that changing your shift to 8am would be less stressful, tell your boss that circumstances (left unnamed) have changed and you'd like to switch your shift. No need to tell them why. Otherwise you'll have to accept the 30 minute discrepancies when they occur.

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Yes, you are being unreasonable. It's your choice to come in early. You could also choose to not come in early, and that would solve your problem. But (for whatever reason) you are choosing to come in early, and that is (seems to be) more important to you than the extra 30 minutes you work sometimes when you close early.

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