I work in IT and my boss is trying to force me to be on-call for after-hours phone support by changing the structure of my bonus, but not offering any more pay. Can he legally do that? Thanks, Unsupported
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- Legal issues aside, this makes your boss sound like a jerk. Asking someone to take on after-hours support work for nothing more than the promise of a bonus is not the behaviour of someone who actually cares about their employees. Being on-call for support is a fact of life in many IT roles, but both the pay and the other perks (which often include flexible hours and a willingness to ensure support is scheduled evenly between staff) should reflect that. Making it conditional by including it in a bonus seems scabby.
- The specific legality of this arrangement would depend upon what kind of contract you signed, and whether there’s a relevant award that applies. Many contracts include vague language around ‘other tasks as required’ and may specify that minimum working hours don’t apply. So it’s not necessarily the case that it’s illegal in the strict sense. Again, doesn’t mean it’s not scabby.
- Honestly, my first reaction would be “start looking for another job”. If that’s not possible, or if you really like this workspace apart from that one issue, then I would make sure that the exact conditions for the bonus are clearly specified in writing before you take on any after-hours support role. A vague promise that you might get a bonus with no details specified leaves you ripe for exploitation.
That’s my take. If readers have their own experience in this area, please help out a fellow pro and share it in the comments.
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