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My girlfriend works for a small business which sells items. She started there two months ago and did not sign any papers. When she applied, she was told that she would be getting a 12-hour work week. However, her manager (the owner of the business) seems to randomly drop her hours in times in which there seems to be no demand (e.g., when there is bad weather, and no one probably will come by to buy anything). This has gotten to the point where the amount of hours my girlfriend worked in the last three weeks were 8, 6, and 3 hours respectively.

Needless to say, she is applying for jobs. But should she at all bring this concern of a lack of hours to her employer's attention?

Furthermore, she has stated in her applications that her "reason for leaving" is a lack of hours. If she gets an interview, she probably will have to explain why she isn't getting hours, but the reason is unknown. There is no evidence that the manager thinks that my girlfriend is doing a poor job. How would you suggest explaining such a situation?

  • @JoeStrazzere - As mentioned before, this is a small business. My girlfriend is one of only two employees. – Clarinetist Jan 8 '15 at 0:47
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    Your girlfriend's reasons for leaving sum up to lack of work and unpredictable, disruptive hours, some of which were not long enough to justify the cost of her commute. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 8 '15 at 3:12
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But should she at all bring this concern of a lack of hours to her employer's attention?

Certainly - she should have talked about this with her employer long before she decided to look for another job.

Something like "Hey, boss - I was expecting to get 12 hours per week, but lately that hasn't been happening." is a good way to begin the conversation.

I think she'll find that it's not unusual for this to happen in a small business with part-time workers. Part-time labor is one of the few variable costs that can be quickly and easily adjusted when there is a lack of business.

Furthermore, she has stated in her applications that her "reason for leaving" is a lack of hours. If she gets an interview, she probably will have to explain why she isn't getting hours, but the reason is unknown. There is no evidence that the manager thinks that my girlfriend is doing a poor job. How would you suggest explaining such a situation?

Unless your girlfriend is the only employee having her hours reduced, the reason is indeed known - not enough demand. Most potential employers would understand that. It happens all the time.

As she seeks her next job, your girlfriend should try harder to see if her desired number of hours will be available on a regular basis before she accepts an offer.

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First step in resolving most employment situations is to talk to the manager. So have her ask the manager how she can be assigned more hours. She can even state that she was expecting at least 12 hours a week. Either the manager will do something to increase the hours or they won't, but she will never know until she asks.

Regarding explaining it to other potential employers, there really isn't much to explain. Just stating that the current employer doesn't have enough business to support the number of hours she is able to work is more than good enough. No one would consider that to be a negative thing.

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