Not Enough Notice of Schedule
My boss won’t tell me my schedule until the last minute
Everyone likes to have a plan. So it’s no fun when your boss gives you the old switcheroo. No one likes to get this phone call first thing in the morning on what youthought was your day off: “We need you to come in right now!” And it’s pretty awful to show up at work, only to hear: “What are you doing here? Your shift got changed!”
If your employer routinely fails to give you proper notice of when and where you are due on the job, it’s extremely disruptive to your life, and particularly difficult if you have a family or are working more than one job.
Bosses who make last-minute work assignments aren’t just hurting you, they are also hurting themselves. Businesses succeed when they have high worker morale, with clear communication between management and employees. Plus, if work schedules are made at the last minute, it increases the chance that the employee just won’t show up.
What to do if you are not getting adequate notice of your work schedule
Unfortunately, there are no federal or state laws that regulate how far in advance your employer has to give you your schedule, so there’s little a government agency or lawyer will be able to do for you in this situation. Here’s what you can do:
- Check the employee manual. Some companies have written policies telling their managers exactly how to manage. If you don’t have one, ask for a copy of the policy and see what it says about notification of schedules.
- See if you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. If you are a member of a union, notification of shifts is very likely part of the contract between your union and your employer. Check with your union rep.
- Talk to co-workers: Your fellow employees are probably in the same boat you are. Talk to them about it. It’s almost always more effective to solve a workplace problem as a group than as an individual. Also, in most cases, private-sector workers have some legal protections under U.S. labor law when acting as a group to change working conditions, which is not true if you try to address a problem on your own.
- Go with a co-worker to talk to your boss: Your boss might be genuinely unaware that last-minute scheduling is stressful for you and your colleagues. Bringing it to his or her attention, and pointing out that it is affecting employee morale and effectiveness, might make a difference. If your boss says his or her hands are tied, it might be time to talk to your boss’s boss, or to the company’s human resources department.