Hi Lifehacker, I have a question about an employer contacting me on my days or mornings off via phone. I am a casual worker and I do sometimes have shift changes but I find that my boss will call on days off, wanting to talk about the previous shift or about an incident that happened that night or asking for some feedback.
My question is: do I actually have to pick up the phone when I am not being paid? I understand if I was in a salaried role where the responsibilities would be greater and there would be an expectation for me to be contactable at all hours. But I am not. Can you offer some insight? Thanks, Shift-Working Student
Phone picture from Shutterstock Dear SWS,
Did your contract make any mention of an expectation of availability outside of work hours? If not, you have zero obligation to take lengthy phone calls from your employer during your days off. Refusing to answer your phone might annoy you boss, but it’s not something he/she can officially discipline you for. (You might get strips torn off you anyway, but at least you’ll be legally in the right.)
That said, ignoring the phone completely probably isn’t the most harmonious solution — plus, there could be a legitimate reason for the phone call, such as a shift change. Our advice would be to answer calls only when it’s convenient and keep the conversation brief. If your boss is persistent, politely explain you’re a bit busy at the moment and would be happy to discuss the topic further on your next shift. As a student, you already have the perfect go-to excuse to cut things short: study!
The key is to make your verbal kiss-off polite and civil — as tempting as it may be, bluntly explaining you’re not getting paid to chat probably isn’t the best approach.
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