Pay Out, Or You’ll Pay In No Staff

, , , , | Working | April 23, 2018

(I work at a well-known non-profit organization as a camp counsellor and lifeguard. When I had just gotten my lifeguarding qualifications, I wanted a job that was flexible and gave me good hours. This place is perfect in that regard, BUT they only pay minimum wage. Lifeguards usually make more because of the training we receive and the responsibility. However, our wage is, at its highest, $11 an hour — and that is only this year. The way it balances out is that we are able to work more hours, and we get our recertifications paid for. Unfortunately, the way lifeguards are treated at this place has gone downhill over the past couple of years. It all starts when we have staff training and we are told we will have a new policy. This is the tail end of the presentation.)

Upper Management: “…so, in conclusion, we have to keep you as part-time employees because if you are full-time, we have to pay more money than what we have in the budget. As a result, nobody can work over 29.5 hours a week.”

(Since a lot of us are still in high school and don’t want that many hours, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I realize how limiting it is when another pool with the same organization desperately needs lifeguards. I decide to try and help out, thinking I can get more hours. They are grateful for the help, until we all learn I can’t work over 29.5 hours between both pools. This means that I can’t help them, even though they really need the help. It also gets worse when I try to work my usual job at a summer camp, and maintain weekend hours at the pool.)

Boss: “I just got word from human resources. You can’t work at the summer camp and get hours for the pool. They are worried you’ll go over and they will have to pay you overtime.”

Me: “What? But the summer camp job is a separate department. Plus, I’m only working 35 hours, and then I have my five-hour shift on Saturday.”

Boss: “They said it doesn’t matter. It’s the same company, so you can’t work for both. Even when I told them I desperately need you on that Saturday shift, they said you would work two extra hours and that’s it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s not worth it for me to come in for two hours.”

Boss: “I figured as much.”

(Things get worse further along when we have another meeting.)

Upper Management: “…due to this change, we can no longer cover your recertification courses 100%. You will have to pay first, and then we will reimburse four hours pay for the course.”

Me: “So, are you increasing our pay?”

Upper Management: “No, pay is fixed at the current rate.”

Me: “How is that fair? Our rate is the way is it because you pay for our recertifications. Now you’re taking that away and not adjusting that?”

Upper Management: “No, you are still getting covered; we are just doing it differently. You pay first and you write in the hours for your course. Then, when it all works out, you’ll still be covered for almost the full amount.”

Me: “It actually doesn’t work out that way. You don’t want us working over 29 hours, nor will you pay us more than four hours. Now a typical lifeguarding recert is $50 to $60. I am making $11 an hour, so I will get paid only $44 for that time served.”

Upper Management: “Well, we did say not 100%, but it’s close—”

Me: “That is not including my standard first-aid I have to recertify, which requires me to run a full course every other year. That can cost almost $200. Or my instructor’s recertification. Furthermore, will you pay us to take more advance lifeguarding courses?”

Upper Management: “We will only do the four hours’ pay for recertifications.”

(Long story short, it didn’t balance out and they never increased our pay. I quit soon after and learned that the organization is having trouble maintaining lifeguards. Gee, I wonder why?)

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