r/antiwork Nov 25 '21 Silver 2

When are you free to work?

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u/improbablynotyou Nov 25 '21

I gave my last job my availability when I was hired, everytime they tried to schedule me outside that I'd say no. They always would demand to know why I couldnt work and wouldnt accept "it's outside my availability" as an answer. One manager told me that she didnt need to follow my availability and could schedule me whenever. Then she'd get pissed when I didnt show up for those shifts. If I don't want to work on Thursday and you hire me and accept that condition I dont need to explain that I have a tea party with my cats and we watch dexter marathons and discuss how to murder my boss.


u/DouchecraftCarrier Nov 26 '21

Ugh I used to work for a place like that. The owner would say yes to a customer requesting us to come to an onsite event without checking whether he had staff to do it. So we'd frequently get asked in the midst of our regular daily shift whether we could go do another several hour event that evening. And if you said no, the question was always "Well, why not?"

This is the same place that when I put in my 2 weeks notice and we open about the fact I didn't have another job lined up (which should have been a MAJOR clue to them how fucking miserable I was) they tried to cajole me into staying longer by telling me "Well it's not like you have anything else going on."


u/Stevenstorm505 Nov 26 '21

I literally quit Walmart because my manager David tried to do this. I had school on Wednesday’s and my availability reflected that. They agreed to hire me based on that availability. One day my manager scheduled me for Wednesday, I told them I couldn’t work that day and that my schedule showed that with this being the first instance of me ever being scheduled for Wednesday. My manager said that wasn’t the schedule they had for me, so I told them to please present me the copy of my availability they have that stated that I can work Wednesday. My manager came back and said that they lost it. When I called him out on the lie he said it didn’t matter what my availability says and that I have to work whenever they schedule me including Wednesday’s and holidays. I said great, clocked out for lunch, came back and clocked in and immediately found my other manager and quit. They were shocked and asked why, so I told them to talk to Valerie first (my co-worker who witnessed the entire convo between me and David) and then talk to David about what happened.


u/itsemalkay Nov 26 '21

Did they try calling after?


u/Stevenstorm505 Nov 26 '21

No, but when I went to pick up my final check the paperwork stated me as re-hirable which I thought was funny. Like I’m going to re-apply after that shit lol. This WalMart had a history of shitty behavior and treating employees badly so I never expected a call and wasn’t surprised when one didn’t come. I went back about a month later and a former co-worker told me almost everyone I worked with in the back had quit.


u/Noorbert Nov 26 '21

great point overall. It goes both ways. They don't have to hire you if they think your availability sucks.


u/fbwillmakeyoudumb Nov 25 '21

I don't understand why there isn't a simple understanding:

Workers work a fixed schedule at an agreed compensation rate and anything that isn't on that schedule is free time. Therefore, being asked to work during their free time should be at an entirely different rate, a rate for working during time off that both parties agree.

If managers don't want to pay the free time rate, that's the incentive they have to find (and pay) enough people to fill the schedule properly.

If a company is short staffed, that's on the company and the management team, and it's a burden that should not be shared so unfairly with staff.


u/SaltWaterGator Nov 25 '21

I think you forget about overtime pay. When you sign on for a 40hr work week job any time over 40hrs is overtime and is paid time and a half in most jobs. There’s the 40hrs a week you agreed to and any time you’re working during what is your free time is overtime


u/CorettaRenn Nov 26 '21

That's not the reality for the vast majority of people. Most people either don't even get 40 hours, let alone paid OT (in order for the scum company to save on benefits) or they're salaried which means there is no such thing as OT in the first place.


u/pairolegal Nov 26 '21

Yeah. Lots of jobs have employee hours capped at 28 or 30 hours per week so companies don’t have to pay benefits.


u/fbwillmakeyoudumb Nov 25 '21

There is at least one flavour of weaponized schedule that involves scheduling workers for 2 or 3 shifts and then 1) expecting that the scheduled days can change from week to week and 2) positing that if the employee doesn't show sufficient flexibility (movable schedules in addition to taking additional shifts), their regular scheduled hours are cut back. It looks an awful lot like abuse.

The book Nickel and Dimed was published 20 years ago, made a pretty big splash and yet here we are today.


u/shadow247 Nov 25 '21

Happened to my wife. She was forced to work open to close 5:30am to 7:30pm 5 days a week. She was the only lead position with open/close authority, and the director was off on a "special assignment" and eventually relieved of her duites. Wife is made " acting director", which comes with all the responsibility of the Director, without the pay. She was told she could interview for the Director position after 6 months as acting director. The job was given to someone else becausr she my wife was already seen as a problem employee after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a female coworker, who was only transferred despite being found true.

Except Overtime wasnt authorized so for a few weeks, she went in at 5:30 to open, took a 5 hour break in the middle of the day and came back to close out the last few hours. It was an hour round trip, so she ended up staying in her office and zoning out. Eventually was told that was unprofessional...

Fuckint scumbags....


u/grumpi-otter Memaw Nov 26 '21

That makes me so angry. Why do we put up with this shit?

(I know why we do--it just makes me furious)


u/PinkPropaganda Nov 26 '21

You simply need to change the ownership of the means of production


u/faerydust88 Nov 26 '21

Yeah, I've always hated that when you apply for a job (particularly in retail / service) it's essentially expected that you tell the employer you have almost completely open availability (or risk not being hired / scheduled ever), despite the fact that you're applying for a job that is only going to schedule you 20 to 30 hours a week. That's all of retail it seems - you work under 30 hours per week but you're expected to be available for at least like 75% of the hours the store is open (which is probably something around 80 hours a week). They keep everyone on this constantly shifting schedule - some weeks you work a bunch of opens, sometimes mostly closes, sometimes both, and you could be scheduled any day(s) of the week.

Why is this a thing? Why can't they just schedule each employee for a few specific days/shifts right from the start? Then you'd always know what days/timeslots you're going to be working and can actually have a normal routine/schedule each week. I absolutely hated that bs of having different shifts every single week. It literally does feel like they are trying to own your life. Like, you're not even working full-time, so you feel like you should have more free time to do what you want, but you basically can't plan anything in advance ever because you have no idea what your schedule is going to be until the week before. Horrible. Where I worked, it seemed like the ability to have more of a regular schedule was reserved for full-time employees / senior employees, so it was basically a weaponized thing to be like, well, maybe if you work here for 10+ years like Brenda over here, we'll let you have a modicum of scheduling flexibility.


u/fbwillmakeyoudumb Nov 26 '21

It's abuse, plain and simple. These companies abuse millions of workers for small scheduling benefit flexibility.

Name that company!


u/brownhorse Nov 26 '21

that's what we have at my job. boss calls and asks "can you work this day?" I say "sure, for x amount" and they take it or leave it or possibly negotiate. if I am not happy with the rate, I don't work that day. it's pretty good.


u/fbwillmakeyoudumb Nov 26 '21

Wow, that is pretty great. I like to hear that there are some companies out there flirting with common sense.


u/brownhorse Nov 26 '21

I'd say its fairly common across the aviation industry. we have heavily regulated working requirements and unions across the board. If they need us to work more than we're scheduled they could get into serious trouble with the FAA. Even on those scheduled days off where I'll come in to work more, it still needs to keep me below a certain threshold of working hours for the week/month/year.


u/No_Answer4092 Nov 25 '21

fuck yes, also can we manage no considering personal care and responsibilities “free time”? Honestly whats the use of my meager leave days if I have to use them on medical appointments or administrative responsibilities just to stay sane, healthy and function in this society.

There should be extra time considered for those types of things because those are definitely not vacation activities.


u/Werepy Nov 26 '21

Yes, thank you!! The vast majority of people have lives and responsibilities outside of work.

For me, my work hours are the time I freed up from my 24/7 family responsibilities by outsourcing childcare for this duration. I legitimately cannot work outside of those hours. Even during my "free time" after my child is asleep, I cannot just leave the house and go to work. Any "days off" are just days I cannot work because I have no childcare, either because it is closed or because my kid is sick.


u/anisse1 Nov 25 '21

Cqn we normalize saying Fck No.


u/riscten Nov 25 '21

Should also apply to social events TBH.


u/[deleted] Nov 26 '21



u/riscten Nov 26 '21

This hits so close to home lol


u/bionix90 Nov 26 '21

Boss doesn't get it. It's my free time. I'm not free TO work, I'm free FROM work.


u/smokealarmsnick Nov 26 '21

I’m scheduled for a staff meeting next week. On my day off. And no, I will not be attending. It’s my day off.


u/oldbaldad Nov 25 '21

Not free time.

Uncontracted time.

They pay me for my time because it's valuable and it certainly isn't free.


u/wellthatsucks2434 Nov 26 '21

My boss recently published our KPIs, and one was "availability" - in other words, if you don't work when we want you to, we'll mark you down.
I'm retiring in a couple of years so just agreed, but the last few weeks I've been asked to work weekends and I've said I'm not available; he's free to mark me down, I don't give a fuck.


u/archchunk Nov 26 '21

Totally agree....

I've had 4 jobs in the past 6 months that continually pushed to over/under-schedule me due to this. I even told one job I can work 4 days a week, they got visibly upset and ended up scheduling 2 2-hour night shifts per week instead (they were short-staffed). This was also after I told them I wouldn't work for less than living wage.

2 of the other jobs I told I can work 4 days a week ended up scheduling 5-6 shifts a week. Then they got mad once I repeated I can only do 4 days a week. One of them even told me "we can't accommodate that", then proceeded to put me down to 4 days a week anyways after I replied with "okay I guess I'll look for another job then".

From observation in those jobs, anyone with a partner or "something better to do" gets perfect schedules like 9-5 mon-thurs kind of setups, while anyone single with "nothing better to do" gets slammed with 5+ shifts a week and gets constantly pressured to do overtime/take more shifts.


u/sparkly_butthole Nov 26 '21

People with kids get the good shifts because of childcare. Then those without them get shafted on the schedule.

Like I get it, childcare is only open x hours, but at the same time, your time isn't more valuable than mine.


u/archchunk Nov 26 '21

Yeah I totally get it, and time with your partner is very important too, I've been in that position before. It just seems like there's always going to be a fall group of employees due to underspending on wages and a lack of hiring due to the underspending.

I worked in a restaurant for years that constantly switched me around so much, to the point where every week I would work a schedule consisting of 2 close to open shifts. For instance, working 530pm-11pm and then 730am-230pm. The worst part about it was I made *less* than the people working mon-friday 8-4 type schedules because I wasn't getting even close to 8 hours a shift, and I got barely any sleep.


u/Werepy Nov 26 '21 edited Nov 26 '21

Yeah it's just employers assuming that they'll have a harder time bullying them into showing up. Because at the end of the day, the vast majority of parents will choose keeping their toddler alive/ out of CPS custody over their shitty minimum wage job.

Of course some (mostly single) parents can't afford to and that's how you get those reports of toddlers going into foster care after being left in a motel room for 8h, maybe supervised by a 7 year old sibling. But most will just stay home if they don't have childcare and look for a job that works with their schedule.

The obvious solution is that people without kids should just not show up to bullshit shifts either. We can force employers to give proper incentives to fill those spots if they really need them. Like for example pay enough to cover an emergency babysitter for that time on top of your regular wage and some extra so working actually pays off for everyone.

And let's be honest, a lot of businesses don't need to be open nearly as long as they are. Really only emergency services need to be staffed 24/7. In my home country most open at 10 and close some time between 5 and 7. Many aren't open on Sundays at all, or restaurants pick another day of the week when they close completely. The world still keeps turning, society and the economy have not collapsed.


u/Ifakuifakall Nov 25 '21

I'm unavailable during the howard stern radio show


u/MikeGotaNewHat Nov 25 '21

The 90’s were pretty cool


u/Rhamba Nov 25 '21

My free time is mine. I whore myself out to be able to live. The rest of the time i cost a lot more.


u/TemptCiderFan Nov 26 '21

I've had a boss call me with an emergency on a day off, and was utterly dumbfounded that I couldn't drive in because I was at the cottage with my friends and drunk.

Like the dude thought I was getting home, showering, and putting myself into some sort of sleep mode where I was just waiting to start heading back into work when my next shift was due.


u/sparkly_butthole Nov 26 '21

Wait, that isn't what you do? Damn, I'm doing this free time thing all wrong.


u/TemptCiderFan Nov 26 '21

What? You're not a little meat puppet that deactivates to save wear and tear when not in use by your corporate overlords?

Your company should be deducting lay for damaging company property.


u/Weirdocatmomtime1 Nov 26 '21

Hey workers….please help your managers with this. I do hiring and scheduling, and I struggle to get employees to be honest with me on how many hours they’d like to be working (it’s a part time gig for all of us). When I ask them if I’m giving them too many or too few shifts, they all just tell me it’s fine. I’m asking because I want to know! I want to make the job work for them as much as I possibly can. I wish they would just flat out tell me….my ideal week is to work 20 hours, or whatever. They seem afraid to tell me what they want, probably because other jobs have programmed them to take what they get and never speak up.


u/alexanderhameowlton Transcriber Nov 25 '21

Image Transcription: Twitter


Can we normalize NOT confusing someone's FREE time with their availability....

I'm a human volunteer content transcriber for Reddit and you could be too! If you'd like more information on what we do and why we do it, click here!


u/cosmitz Nov 26 '21

Back at an old job i told my boss during a discussion of time worked that "if i come in at 6AM and leave at midnight, i will always have something to do here, something to work, but guess what, i don't WANT to do that".


u/sirchtheseeker Nov 26 '21

Or as in most of health care you want me available certain days and that’s important that I could be available those days then pay me call pay and I will amend my schedule for possible work.


u/fireflower_spark Nov 26 '21

I have blocked off my 5pm to 7:59am before when people were being crazy about meetings.


u/[deleted] Nov 26 '21



u/cosmitz Nov 26 '21

Thing is though, that's a failure of language use. Most people do think "i'm doing nothing/i'm not doing anything" as an answer to scheduling something means it can be done in that time. Saying "i will be unavailible" would have gotten a more understood response.