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jendf
12-13-2010, 11:28 AM
So here's my situation:

I've been working extra hours recently and was told I would be paid X amount per hour for the extra hours I pulled in over my normal 40 hours. My boss came to me on Friday and said that she was misinformed and I would only be getting paid Y amount of dollars instead.

I wasn't terribly upset because the revised amount is still very generous and I'm happy to get the extra cash for the holidays.

She said she felt bad about the error and would like to make it up to us (me and the other employees working overtime). She told me to take an extra day off for my upcoming vacation in January but to not report it. It would just be between her and I.

I didn't feel comfortable doing this so I told her that I would love the extra day off but only if I could use vacation time to cover it. She said that was fine.

That seems to be the end of it although things feel a little cool between me and my boss at the moment.

I'm just wondering, should I have just taken the "free day". Is this common in your workplace? I've been in the working world for about 17 years now and this was a first for me. I guess I've been lucky.

What she was suggesting was unethical, right?

hampshirebrit
12-13-2010, 11:35 AM
What she was suggesting was unethical, right?

Depends entirely on your workplace rules and culture, and also how much authority your boss has to make the offer. I have been offered similar arrangements in various jobs in the past, and I have offered them to those reporting to me.

Always good if you can get (or give) the details of the arrangement by email. That way, it is all above board.

jendf
12-13-2010, 11:39 AM
Depends entirely on your workplace rules and culture, and also how much authority your boss has to make the offer. I have been offered similar arrangements in various jobs in the past, and I have offered them to those reporting to me.

Always good if you can get (or give) the details of the arrangement by email. That way, it is all above board.

She didn't want this documented anywhere because she would probably get in trouble with the higher-ups over it. It was definitely an under the table type of thing which I think is why I had issue with it. The whole thing felt shady.

PoliCon
12-13-2010, 11:42 AM
I would not be comfortable with that. :( Too easy for it to turn around and bite you in the ass.

hampshirebrit
12-13-2010, 11:46 AM
She didn't want this documented anywhere because she would probably get in trouble with the higher-ups over it. It was definitely an under the table type of thing which I think is why I had issue with it. The whole thing felt shady.

Then you did the right thing. Lack of documentation is a deal-breaker for this kind of thing. It shows she does not have the authority to make the offer, which means that she would not back you up if it was ever questioned by higher-up.

jendf
12-13-2010, 11:46 AM
I would not be comfortable with that. :( Too easy for it to turn around and bite you in the ass.

That's what I thought!

All I could think about was a story here locally involving 25-30 Phoenix police officers who took money for work they didn't actually do. Granted, their issue is on a much larger scale, but this felt like essentially the same thing to me.

I felt like taking pay for a day where I didn't work (and I didn't use earned vacation hours) is essentially stealing.

Gingersnap
12-13-2010, 11:49 AM
I'm just wondering, should I have just taken the "free day". Is this common in your workplace? I've been in the working world for about 17 years now and this was a first for me. I guess I've been lucky.

What she was suggesting was unethical, right?

What she was suggesting was "justice". It's common that a manager will be told that compensation for extra effort will be 'X' only have an accountant, HR exec, or upper-level drone reverse that and make the manager look like a fool or a swindler.

She had the ability to "make you whole" according to her original promise (which was probably based on information given to her from above). Doing so "off the books" is simply the only way to make management accountable for its promises.

I have done this myself (both taking free leave and giving it). As long as companies have a laundry list of internal and external rules and regs that govern the most minute aspects of employee compensation, managers will always have to be creative to reward extra work.

jendf
12-13-2010, 11:50 AM
Then you did the right thing. Lack of documentation is a deal-breaker for this kind of thing. It shows she does not have the authority to make the offer, which means that she would not back you up if it was ever questioned by higher-up.

I feel better now. I mean, I felt fine before but I had never been in this situation before so I thought maybe my instinct on this was off.

jendf
12-13-2010, 12:03 PM
What she was suggesting was "justice". It's common that a manager will be told that compensation for extra effort will be 'X' only have an accountant, HR exec, or upper-level drone reverse that and make the manager look like a fool or a swindler.

She had the ability to "make you whole" according to her original promise (which was probably based on information given to her from above). Doing so "off the books" is simply the only way to make management accountable for its promises.

I have done this myself (both taking free leave and giving it). As long as companies have a laundry list of internal and external rules and regs that govern the most minute aspects of employee compensation, managers will always have to be creative to reward extra work.

Have you ever had an employee say no thanks when you offered the free leave?

Gingersnap
12-13-2010, 12:23 PM
Have you ever had an employee say no thanks when you offered the free leave?

No, I never have but then we've both shared the understanding that the work promised was both beyond the employee's contracted work and the work was completed on time and with high quality. He or she earned the compensation regardless of whether or not some pinhead in Accounting understood that.

That you have never run into one of these rare situations in 17 years is remarkable but it also shows you that these deals are exceptional - not a routine business practice designed to rip-off the company. If your manager wanted to compensate you this way several times a year (or more often), then that would indicate that there was a major screw-up in management. As a one-off thing during a labor emergency, it's just fair.

Kay
12-13-2010, 09:42 PM
Everything Ginger said. I've done this before with the people reporting to me.
I've only had one or two instances where the person told me they were worried
about it, and in those instances I made it clear to them that if there was any blow
back it was on me not them.

Not long ago my boss just happened to walk in my office while I was discussing
a "creative way" for an employee to make up some time. The employee in question
told him what we were doing and asked if that was alright with him. He told her
that was up to her boss (me) not him. So that was nice to hear that I had the freedom
to set my own policy on it with his blessing.

Like Hamps said, it depends on the type of business and the company culture.
That's pretty shitty though that they told you one pay rate and then changed
it after you had already done the work.

noonwitch
12-14-2010, 02:56 PM
She didn't want this documented anywhere because she would probably get in trouble with the higher-ups over it. It was definitely an under the table type of thing which I think is why I had issue with it. The whole thing felt shady.



You are right, it does feel somewhat shady. It's definitely something a boss could hold against you later, if she decided she didn't like you at that point.


If she was willing to put it all in writing and sign it, though, I'd take the day.

Gingersnap
12-14-2010, 03:02 PM
You are right, it does feel somewhat shady. It's definitely something a boss could hold against you later, if she decided she didn't like you at that point.

If she was willing to put it all in writing and sign it, though, I'd take the day.

I disagree. Since it's off the books, it never happened so she could hardly use it against any of the employees. Remember, her promise of a certain wage was made publicly to the affected employees. She was only trying to make good on that public promise. Bitter, back-stabbing managers seldom even notice if they've cheated an employee, let alone voluntarily try to make things right.

hampshirebrit
12-14-2010, 03:50 PM
I disagree. Since it's off the books, it never happened so she could hardly use it against any of the employees. Remember, her promise of a certain wage was made publicly to the affected employees. She was only trying to make good on that public promise. Bitter, back-stabbing managers seldom even notice if they've cheated an employee, let alone voluntarily try to make things right.

I'm not sure about what you're saying at all, Ginger.

I think the whole situation has major dependencies on the prevailing company culture, the degree of trust that exists between the manager and those reporting to the manager, and the willingness or not to put it in writing.

Above all else, I would say that the final judgement has to be made by the employee.

I have made exceptions of the sort that Jendf has described, even when I know it might not be liked by higher-higher, but I have always made it clear that I will stand and if necessary fall by my decision. It's a two-way trust relationship. It means I have confidence that my upline will back me up and the employee won't get screwed over if I make a mistake.

All it takes is an email.

noonwitch
12-14-2010, 04:10 PM
I disagree. Since it's off the books, it never happened so she could hardly use it against any of the employees. Remember, her promise of a certain wage was made publicly to the affected employees. She was only trying to make good on that public promise. Bitter, back-stabbing managers seldom even notice if they've cheated an employee, let alone voluntarily try to make things right.


I work for the government, we always want it in writing and in triplicate.

Gingersnap
12-14-2010, 04:38 PM
I work for the government, we always want it in writing and in triplicate.

Well, that's a different work culture, for sure. ;)

lacarnut
12-14-2010, 04:45 PM
Jen

I would forget about it unless you thought your boss was offended. In that case, I would ask for time off on an hour or two basis for personal business rather than taking a whole day off. I would also be concerned about some busy body ratting on me if I took the whole day off.

My boss wanted me to process University snack bar returns/payments, and waive the penalty and interest on an outfit that had never paid sales taxes. The Penalty under state law can be waived but not the interest. I refused unless he gave me written authorization. Believe me, I kept that written documentation till the day I retired because legislative auditors like to snoop. You can never be too careful on the job.

jendf
12-14-2010, 05:45 PM
It's a two-way trust relationship.

I think that's why I hesitated. I just don't trust her. Our relationship has been that way for a while. We established long ago that we would never be friends outside of the office. :D

Update: Things are much warmer between us today. She approved the extra day of vacation (using vacation time per my request) and things seem fine.

She seems to have respected my decision.

Thanks for all your input, everyone! You guys are very informative.

jendf
12-14-2010, 05:46 PM
You are right, it does feel somewhat shady. It's definitely something a boss could hold against you later, if she decided she didn't like you at that point.


If she was willing to put it all in writing and sign it, though, I'd take the day.

She wouldn't. This would have been a verbal agreement between us. All very under the table which felt wrong to me.

jendf
12-14-2010, 05:49 PM
Jen

I would forget about it unless you thought your boss was offended. In that case, I would ask for time off on an hour or two basis for personal business rather than taking a whole day off. I would also be concerned about some busy body ratting on me if I took the whole day off.

My boss wanted me to process University snack bar returns/payments, and waive the penalty and interest on an outfit that had never paid sales taxes. The Penalty under state law can be waived but not the interest. I refused unless he gave me written authorization. Believe me, I kept that written documentation till the day I retired because legislative auditors like to snoop. You can never be too careful on the job.

She seemed much more friendly today so if she had been offended, she's let it go. I did my darndest to reassure her that I appreciated what she wanted to do and hoped she understood. She seems to now. Extra vacation day was approved (in writing), so I consider the matter even and closed.

ralph wiggum
12-14-2010, 05:51 PM
Thanks for all your input, everyone! You guys are very informative.

Us, informative? That's unpossible! :p

jendf
12-14-2010, 05:53 PM
Us, informative? That's unpossible! :p

Except you. You were quite useless in this matter. :p

ralph wiggum
12-14-2010, 05:55 PM
Except you. You were quite useless in this matter. :p

I've been busy. I'll be more useless next time.