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Zero-Hour Contracts Are Not Worth The Hours They Grant

, , , | Working | April 25, 2018

(The pool I work at hires a new aquatic supervisor, who hasn’t managed a pool before. We are optimistic at first, but it soon becomes apparent that she doesn’t take ethics into consideration when it comes to scheduling. She starts shortening shifts and not giving people a lot of hours. Quite a few people have quit as a result. She also somehow went over with the aquatics budget, even though we have no idea what she spent it on. To help out during our staff shortage, I’m working every closing shift, since I’m in school during the day, but it’s becoming very tiring. My boss knows this and promises to help me out once she hires more people, while still giving me 15 to 20 hours a week. One day, she comes to me with a question.)

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], I’m about to interview some people and I just looked at the starting wage for new hires. Is this right?”

(I look at the sheet of paper and confirm that it is correct.)

Boss: *stunned* “Seriously? But you and the other lifeguards make way more than that.”

Me: “Yes, but we’ve been working here a couple of years, and we get a raise with each successful performance review. That’s why we make more.”

Boss: “Hm…”

(She stands there for an awkward moment, deep in thought.)

Me: “Uh… Do you have a lot of people scheduled for interviews?”

Boss: “Oh, yeah. It’s going to be so much better from here on out.”

Me: “Great.”

(The next few weeks go on without a hitch, and we hear about the new hires coming in. We are about to start lessons one day when my boss comes to talk to me.)

Boss: “[My Name], we have a new guard coming in after lessons to shadow you on closing procedures. Afterwards, he’ll be taking over.”

Me: “Oh, nice! Sure, that will be no problem.”

Boss: “Yep, and I’m going to put out the new schedule soon. You’ll see it’ll be a lot easier for you next month.”

(Suddenly, I have a bad feeling about that last comment, a sinking feeling in my stomach. Maybe it’s how she emphasizes that it will be a lot easier that gets me to question further.)

Me: “Uh, how many hours did I get?”

Boss: *looks at me, puzzled* “You wanted some closings taken off, right?”

Me: “Uh, yeah. But I still get 15 to 20 hours, right?”

Boss: “Oh, you can see on the schedule; it goes out later.”

(That did little to calm my nerves, and I spent the rest of lessons dreading it. Sure enough, the boss dropped off the new schedule while I was busy and promptly left the building so I couldn’t talk to her. I looked at the schedule and discovered that I’d been cut down to two hours a week, and so had every senior lifeguard there. All of the shifts were taken up by new guards, and it was obvious that she did this to save money. Her bright idea was to hire new guards and give them all the hours at a lower wage, then cut our hours to save money. It made a lot of people mad and, guess what? It didn’t work! When you give new people a lot of responsibility with little training and no probation period, you get pools that aren’t opened or closed properly, staff that don’t show up for shifts, and many customer complaints for poor programming. I quickly gave my notice and found another job, not caring about the mess she had to clean up.)

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