I have a title, more than two employees, satisfy the salary requirement, and have weight given to my decisions to hire , fire, task assignment, etc… So I’m exempt right?
I am salaried for 40 hr. a week, about half of the work year I repeatedly put in 70 hrs. a week performing predictable,rotational, maintenance labor identical to that of my employees. I work unpaid in the field every Sunday and all summer holidays. My company does not have the budget to hire any staff to perform these tasks that are critical to the deliverables. The employees I supervise are assigned to single service areas and may not work on the broader assignment for which I am responsible. The rotational tasks are weather dependent so regardless of re-arrangements and behind the desk Monday quarterbacking, service must be delivered. The most critical of the tasks can only be performed on weekends when I have accessibility to the sites. HR said you have to work whatever hours it takes to get the job done.
We anticipated this at point of hire, and vague promises were forwarded to compensate with additional paid time off (PTO).
Nothing in writing. I took a vacation after serving these 70 hour weeks for 16 weeks straight. Then received an email upon return informing that I didn’t have sufficient PTO, and will go unpaid for the vacation.
I reminded my supervisor of the vague promises, a date was set to draw up language, this has past with no follow up.
Yes, but the best one is of no use to you. Never, and I mean never, accept a job offer contingent on vague verbal promises. Something like this should have been in writing as part of the offer letter or in the employee handbook as a matter of policy. Working 16 straight 70 hour weeks would send me over the edge and a vacation or 12 weeks of mental FMLA would be required.
So, where do we go from here? First, you need to take responsibility for getting this fixed. Your boss doesn’t care. He should, but he doesn’t. Nobody cares about your vacation like you do.
You need to make sure you get on his calendar. Go in prepared with what your expectations are. Do not pause for a second if he says, “what do you think is fair?” You know what you think is fair, so make sure you have something to say. Don’t leave without a resolution. If he says, “Well, I need to check with HR and the big boss on this,” say, “Great. Let’s write up a proposal right now and e-mail it to both of them.” Otherwise, he won’t have gotten around to meeting with them and you’ll be working another 16 straight weeks of weekends.
If the vague offer of additional PTO came from him, keep in mind he may not have gotten authorization and he may be getting in trouble. So, it may not be truly possible to give you what he promised you. (My lawyer friends can tell you that in some cases a verbal promise is equal to a written contract, but I don’t know if this is such a case and I’m not a lawyer anyway. I did, however, hear a “pro-lawyer” advertisement on the radio the other day. Seriously. It was weird. Yeah lawyers!)
If you cannot get a meeting (people who are avoiding you can miss meetings like you wouldn’t believe) then type up what your expectations are in an e-mail. This is a last resort, because many people see this as a passive aggressive move. I hate confrontation so I do as much as possible via e-mail (plus e-mail covers your rear end sometimes). Try, try, try to meet in person. But if not, try something like this:
When you offered me [position x] part of the offer included comp time in exchange for the 70 hour weeks I would be expected to work. I would like to formalize this so there are no more misunderstandings.
For each 70 hour week I work, I will receive an additional [half day, quarter day, hour--whatever was discussed previously] in paid time off.
Please let me know if this is not to your understanding.
For the first e-mail, don’t copy his boss or HR. We want to stay out of it and it won’t help your cause. If his offer was outside of company policy he’ll get in trouble and you don’t want him to get in trouble if you can help it. (A happy boss is more likely to give you the time off you deserve).
If he doesn’t respond, send him a follow up e-mail saying that you understand this is now in place and you are acting accordingly.
Then ask yourself this question, “why am I working for such a place? Do the benefits outweigh all the negatives?” If the answer is no, get your resume updated and start looking. I certainly wouldn’t want to work under the conditions you are describing. Of course, I’ve worked part time for 5 years now, so I’ve grown soft.
(And PS–before someone comments and says “maybe she’s not really exempt!” we’re assuming she is exempt. Hire/Fire and supervisory responsibilities tend to make one exempt. If she’s doing a lot of the actual work and it’s not professional level work, you may be right, but we are assuming this is an exempt position.)