Working off the Clock and the Benefit of a Daily Diary

August 11, 2020 - Is the volume of work expected in your day so much that you cannot get through all the work assigned? Are your job metrics unrealistic? To keep up with expectations, are you reading work emails and completing work off the clock? Are you working before your shift start to get a jump on things in hopes of staying off the radar?

Companies tell Unions that they do not expect employees to work for free. However, the intrinsic nature of unreasonable performance metrics could be pressuring employees to work off the clock. Companies have testified that they are well aware when they set metrics that not all employees will reach the expected targets, and even though they know the metrics are unreasonable, they will still pressure workers to try and meet them. If workers choose to cut corners to meet expectations, then indeed the expectations are unrealistic. Once one worker starts cutting corners, others are then faced with a similar choice or they risk being the one who stands out for not measuring up. If everyone works within the same guidelines, any unrealistic expectations become more visible. When work is performed off the clock, a vicious never-ending cycle happens day in day out where those who do not work off the clock are singled out as outliers over those who are working off the clock and meeting or exceeding metrics. How many times have you heard “So and so is meeting metrics, why can’t you?”

We are hearing many examples where unrealistic expectations are either being implied or a blind eye appears a common reaction to working off the clock. For example, you are expected to be ready for your first call at the beginning of your shift, or you are to stock your van and drive to meet your first appointment before your shift begins

Here are some examples of what working off the clock looks like:

  • Working past the end of your shift and not submitting either a MTR (more time request) or a WPS (work past shift) to ensure you are paid overtime;

  • Working through or not taking your breaks,

  • Logging in to systems before your shift has started.

    • At the start of your shift log in to any systems needed to take a call and load non essential systems during your first call. You must follow the 3 step process to report all log-ins which exceed your department’s log-in grace period:

      Notify your manager or OCM,

      Log a ticket, and

      Code your login time in IEX from the start of your shift to when you have completed the 3 step process and made yourself ready. Advise a shop steward if you are pressured or instructed otherwise.

      View settlements reached on no pre shift log-in required.

To be very clear, no one should be working for free. Please use the link below and report any examples where you are either directed to or feel you must: work through your breaks, work before the start of your shift, or at the end of your shift as you worry that there are possible consequences if you don’t.

Many members are being investigated and some are disciplined for non-productive or idle work time. We encourage members to keep a daily log of their workday. It will be of benefit if you are asked to explain periods of alleged non-productivity, weeks after the fact. 

 In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944