manager blocked internal move, salary when moving to part-time, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. Salary when moving to part-time

I recently made a request at my job to move from a full-time schedule to a part-time one, due to some personal and medical issues that need more of my attention. I spoke with my director, who immediately said she supported my request and that she’d speak to my two project supervisors after Thanksgiving to discuss how we’d work out the day-to-day work.

In the meantime, she asked me to reach out to the operations manager and HR director regarding salary and benefits. I just met with them for a brief meeting, where they basically just let me know the next steps, but we did not discuss salary at all. However, I did see a number written down on a paper in front of the HR director that was equivalent to what my current pay would be if it was an hourly rate. (I am salaried.) My husband insists that if I’ll be going to an hourly rate as a part-time employee, I should earn more per hour, since I won’t have the option of benefits and do not get PTO.

Should I have a number in mind for an hourly wage, and is it reasonable for that number to be slightly higher that the hourly wage I’m receiving now, since I will no longer be eligible for benefits or PTO?

It’s not unreasonable, but it’s also not necessarily unreasonable of your company not to want to do that. Some companies do that, and some don’t; there’s no absolute “this is how it’s done.” Also, in this case, since you’re the one asking to move to part-time, you might have less negotiating power than if the move was being driven by their interests.

But it’s certainly completely fine to ask and see what they’ll agree to. I’d word it this way: “Since my compensation currently includes benefits and won’t anymore once I move to part-time, I’m hoping we could do an hourly wage of $___ to reflect that.”

2. Manager blocked internal move

My employer (a large company) advertised a post (to internal and external candidates) for a secondment to cover someone’s maternity leave. An internal candidate scored best at the interviews and in assessments and so was offered and accepted the post. This person’s line manager has refused to release them from their current position. Can they prevent someone developing their skills and working in another department?

Yes, if your company permits that. Many companies do indeed require a person’s current manager to sign off on a transfer.

With temporary moves (as it sounds like this one would have been), it can be understandable for a manager not to want to deal with temporarily covering someone’s position. But with permanent moves, it’s a pretty bad policy, since do you know what managers don’t get asked to sign off on? That same person leaving for another company entirely, because this one blocked them from advancing.

3. Double standard for exempt employees

Is there a double standard for exempt employees about time in vs time off, and what are your thoughts on that?

About five years ago, my husband was co-manager of a restaurant, and one day he got ill during the early hours of the day and had to go home. His pay was docked (he had no PTO), which he assumed was to pay the other manager, who had to come in to cover. Shortly thereafter, the other manager had a family emergency and he was called in to cover her full day, but he wasn’t paid anything extra because “You’re salaried and you have to work extra hours sometimes.”

Similarly, my exempt coworkers are expected to work past 5 most days (often unnecessarily), but if they want to leave before 5 they have to claim it as PTO.

I am currently non-exempt, but our director is pushing for my position to be made exempt. I’m wondering if the above examples are typical about how time is thought about for exempt employees, and whether you think that makes sense.

Yes, there often is a double standard, where exempt workers are told to use PTO when they want time off, but aren’t given anything extra when they put in extra hours. I’m not a fan.

That said, what your husband’s company did was illegal. They can’t dock the pay of an exempt worker for working a half day, and by doing that, they treated him as non-exempt, which means that they could have ended up owing him a whole bunch of overtime pay that he would have been entitled to as a non-exempt worker.

As for your current manager wanting to convert you to exempt, (a) make sure your position would qualify under the law; it’s based on job duties, not the employer’s preference, and (b) find out whether they too have a double standard where they’d require you to use PTO to take time off even if you regularly work additional hours.

4. Staying in touch when a hiring process is put on hold

I know you get asked about following up after an interview all the time, but my question is about what to do when you’ve been told hiring has been put on hold. I had a great interview a month ago, sent my thank-you email, and then sent a follow-up about a week later (when he told me they’d be making a decision by). Some time later, I got an email back saying that they’re in a holding pattern (because some contracts needed to drive the position hadn’t come through yet), but he’d be in touch when they’re ready to move forward with the process. I’m just wondering if there is a way to stay in touch, and keep following up so I’m still fresh in their in mind…without being annoying?

I wouldn’t do much of that, since he told you directly that he’ll be in touch when they’re ready to move forward. I think it would be fine to do one check-in, in about a month to see if he has a sense of their likely timeline, but after that I’d move on and assume that they’ll get in touch when/if they want to resume the process.

{ 68 comments… read them below }

  1. Pete*

    I wouldn’t be crazy about an employee leaving my department to cover maternity leave elsewhere — assuming it’s between 6 wks and 6 months and that the employee would be sent back to me.

    I would then have to scramble to cover my temporarily lost employee. I would approve a perm transfer, but not a temp.


    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I totally glossed over that it would be a temporary move. (It’s the word “secondment” — is that rarely used in the U.S., or have I just managed to somehow avoid hearing it much?) If indeed it was intended to be temporary and then the employee would return, I totally agree — it’s reasonable for a manager to object to that because of work needs.

      I’ll tweak the answer to reflect that.

      1. super anon*

        Secondments are common in academia, but I haven’t heard the term used elsewhere. In my old office people were encouraged to go on secondments to other departments (we had one person leave for a year, we had someone from another dept come to us for 6 months, and another person go else where for 6 months in the year I was there) because it meant they learned a lot about other areas of the university which they would bring back to our office. They became an even more valuable resource for the office staff and for the students that we serviced.

        I can’t speak for all fields of course, or even all institutions, but at mine blocking someone moving to another dept for a secondment would be very odd and isn’t done.

        1. Overeducated and underemployed*

          The US government does them too (“details”). In my experience, they are encouraged as professional development, and when someone goes, someone else from their unit takes on their core duties as “acting”. Obviously this wouldn’t work if there were no one who could step up.

          1. doreen*

            I’m not a Fed , but I’ve always had the impression that “detail” referred to an assignment outside of the employing agency ( for example, both US Marshals and DEA agents assigned to a multi-agency task force) rather than covering for someone on leave. Am I completely wrong, or is the same term used for both?

        2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

          Geeze we do it this all the time. I have to start using “secondment” instead of “moving people around to cover things”. It’s generally, but not always, a step up in experience for the people being moved around, I mean going on secondments.

          Rarely, we combine jobs to cover maternity or other leave but that never works out well for us. You get two jobs done by one person less than half as well.

        3. the_scientist*

          Secondments are super common at my employer (provincial government). Here in Ontario, we have a 1-year federally mandated maternity leave, and if you bank all your vacation and add it to the end of your mat leave, you can get 13 or 14 months of paid leave. Typically what happens is that someone will move up to an “acting” role and their position will be backfilled on a 12-month contract. Basically everyone gets their start in the government on a mat leave contract; by the end of the contract there are positions opening up elsewhere and you have a much better chance of getting hired as an internal candidate. Or, your team’s workload has expanded and the contract role gets made permanent. Secondments are a great way to let staff test out more senior roles and gain leadership experience, and the 12-month mat leave contracts are a great way to get “in”. We do also have lateral secondments but they aren’t quite as common.

      2. HM in Atlanta*

        It’s extremely common outside the US. I currently have a cascade of people seconded to other roles. The first was to cover maternity leave (14 months, not just 6 weeks), then a secondment to cover the 1st one, until 3 transfers down I have an external person covering a role for 12 months.

        You’d think it would be a hassle, but it really hasn’t been. It’s also letting some more junior staff members develop and more senior staff members get experience in lateral areas without having to truly change jobs.

        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

          This seems a bit complicated, but really, really cool!

          I like the idea that people can have growth opportunities without leaving the company.

          1. inksmith*

            Yeah, my current team in the UK is like this – wewere trying to work it out the other day, and had a lot of “so, Jane is Kate, and John is Phil, who’s Sarah, who’s actually gone off to a whole other team for a year…” In my team of 12, there’s I think four of us in permanent non-seconded positions; three are seconded to different roles in the team; five are external temps in to cover seconded roles and maternity cover, and then we’ve got a secondment from somewhere else in the organisation, after the temp who was covering the maternity role got shifted to a new position in our team… and now my head hurts, but it works for us since we really only have two main levels of staff in the team.

      3. neverjaunty*

        What seems weird to me is that it sounds like the manager wasn’t consulted earlier, such as when the candidate was under consideration.

        1. Mike B.*


          I don’t think it would make much sense to even apply for a temporary transfer unless your manager already knew you wanted to change roles and was supportive. You’d be asking them to cover your temporary absence while keeping your old job open, knowing that you will very likely end up staying in the new role permanently or leaving soon for another position more to your liking. That’s not a trivial thing.

          I’d do that for some of my employees but not others–I’ll accommodate a star however I can in the hopes they’ll decide to stay (with the company if not with my own department), but a mediocre performer is not going anywhere unless it will be permanent.

          1. Jerry Vandesic*

            Be wary of a temporary transfer. Happened to a friend of mine. Manager was supportive, but when the temporary assignment was completed there was no position that they could return to. Turns out used it as an easy way to get rid of someone he want on his team.

      4. Green*

        We use that at my major multinational corporation (here in the US). It’s used as an alternative method for employee development, cross-training, and to retain employees over a longer period of time (by giving them “fresh” things to do or temporary relocations, including international, at their option). Obviously you shouldn’t apply for a secondment when you have major responsibilities upcoming that can’t otherwise be covered, but managers should also consider the larger goals of secondments in the company and consider the *company’s* interest in retaining that employee vs. just the department’s interest.

    2. TheLazyB*

      It’s quite common for this to happen in the UK. Sometimes the seconded employee also gets covered; sometimes not.

      1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

        Thank you!

        I’ve learned a lot about maternity leave and secondment from reading AAM, but this letter definitely left me with questions.

        If this manager lets a person go, do they just hold their position open? Do the post for another secondment?

        1. inksmith*

          Usually someone else gets seconded into the post and it chains from there. It’s all great until someone high up in the chain gets unseconded as part of a restructure and suddenly about 12 people have to drop back. Extra fun when some of the people in the chain were made full-time in secondment and have to figure out what to do about hours and salary having quit their second part-time job. Not that I speak from experience of that or anything :)

        2. Chinook*

          “If this manager lets a person go, do they just hold their position open? Do the post for another secondment?”

          Depending on the position, it might be easier to cover for this position with a temp than for the one being seconded to. At one place I worked, 90% of the admin assistants started as the receptionist and then moved internally to their current position because of their relationships and knowledge of a particular department or partner. It was almost like being on reception was a way to hire out poor hires (can they handle stress? how do they handle multi-tasking and following procedures) as well as get them up to speed on the entire company before they moved into a particular department. And considering the number of temp receptionists we went through to replace me (I trained 5 of them over 3 months), I can’t say it is a bad idea.

      2. Merry and Bright*

        Sometimes under the guise of career development but it also solves staffing issues, sometimes at little cost to the employer.

  2. Carlotta*

    Secondments happen in big corporate and finance etc quite often. I’ve not done one and am not sure of the process but they are often good opportunities for employees to learn new skills and sometimes lead to permanent moves elsewhere. I would however have thought a manager would have got on board earlier in the process than this to avoid this very situation.

    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      My first thought question was, when was the manager told?

      I could see this being a knee-jerk reaction if she was told at the end of the process.

      1. Chinook*

        “My first thought question was, when was the manager told?”

        Or it could be that the manager was a “yes man” who never thought the person would get the job and didn’t want to look like a bad guy. DH swears that was what happened when his boss kyboshed his transfer to do an Afghanistan rotation (while Canada was at war there). His sergeant was all for the idea until DH got approved by the higher ups and then he found different reasons to say why it couldn’t be done at that time (but maybe next year…) DH’s response was to do exactly what AAM predicted – he immediately put in for a career transfer and got it because he realized he wasn’t ever going to be allowed to leave that posting ever.

    2. Djuna*

      They’re fairly common where I work too – but with the difference that a manager (and sometimes the manager’s manager) has to sign off on the original application.

      It’s a bit of a pain if you’re applying for one, but I imagine they have this in place precisely to ensure there can be no objection further down the line.

      In my experience, headcount for secondments is not backfilled in general, so it can leave a gap. I wasn’t replaced while on secondment, but as soon as I was made permanent in the new role they opened up my old one to internal applicants.

      Depending on the industry and time of year, etc. moving someone out can be a risk.
      I feel bad for the poster, it seems like their company doesn’t really have the whole secondment idea figured out.

    3. rando*

      Secondments are common in large law firms too. When our clients need extra help, or they are having trouble filling a position, one of our attorneys works at the client for a while. It’s great for us because we learn about the internal workings of the client.

  3. EmmaB*

    I agree with the advice on #5. Let it be and continue your job search. I wouldn’t hold off waiting, because it possible those contracts will never come through.

    I do also have a question that is similarish. I had an interview on the 17th of this month. They said they’d be completing interviews the beginning of the next week (so Thanksgiving week), and then moving to the next steps. I already sent my thank you, but how long do I wait to do any sort of follow up given the holiday?

    1. fposte*

      Until they seem way behind on their timeline and you can legitimately ask what the new one is. In this case, I’d give it at least another couple of weeks. “Following up” is a bit of a misnomer here–if you’ve done thank you notes that function as follow ups, the expectation is that they *don’t* hear from you unless you need something new from them.

  4. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    #1, I wouldn’t necessarily offer you an hourly rate that took benefits into account, especially if you had requested the move to part time. When I have a full-time employee, that person is more than just double a part time employee. I have more flexibility, since they are available all day. I can also expect that I’m not competing with other jobs, etc. for their time and attention during the workweek. Especially if they are exempt, their time is more elastic and can be used to meet lots of different needs. Part time employees usually need very well defined jobs that fit into a box. If their work isn’t done in that time, somebody else has to do it. That’s great when there is work to do that fits in a box, but limiting overall. Of course, a lot of this depends on the nature of the role.

    I’m not criticizing you for moving to part time because that sounds like the right thing for you, instead I’m saying that your time might be worth a bit less to the company than it was at full time.

    1. Artemesia*

      This. Salaried employees work till the work is done; hourly employees work their hours. A full time employee, all things being equal, is much more valuable to the organization and allowing someone to go part time is a favor not a benefit to the organization. I’d ask, but be prepared to be told no.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      I’m trying to imagine a circumstance where it would make sense to pay more per hour for part time. The only thing I can come up with is if the job didn’t need to be full time to begin with, and it’s a self contained job. So you have a full time computer programmer but only 25 hours of work a week for them, they go to part time, you pay a bit more per hour and everybody wins.

      Other than that, it’s always a question what we will offer per hour when someone requests part time. (not infrequent in our world and usually due to making accommodations for new parents.) We have to assess, first, if we can use them part time and in what capacity, create a position for them, decide what the position pays and then make the offer. We do use the salary they were making previously as a reference for what we’d pay them per hour for part time, but we don’t necessarily meet that. It’s a matter of what the new job pays.

      I thought of another thing. It’s conceivable that someone could make a case an increase, for say $30 an hour, 15 hours a week do to something valuable and self contained, with a high learning curve – like running specialized financial reports. Those reports standalone could be worth $30 an hour. But its about what the job pays.

      1. jmkenrick*

        I agree; if you need someone with a specialized skill-set but only part time? You might be better off paying a higher hourly wage to someone willing to work part-time rather than either taking them on full time without enough work or hiring an outside contractor.

        But it’s harder to make that case when the employee is the one driving the move to part-time. Still, it’s worth asking.

      2. jhhj*

        But if the pay before included vacation and benefits, then they’re not paying more per hour, they’re changing the method of compensation.

        Not that it makes sense to me that part time workers don’t accrue vacation.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

          Converting a full time job to a part time position creates a different job and there are cascading effects on the rest of business.

          Say you have 3 marketing artists with full time work for all 3 of them. 1 marketing artist wants to go to work part time. Okay, you make a part time job for her. What do you do with the rest of the work:

          1) the other 2 artists have more work
          2) freelance the remainder
          3) hire another full time or part time marketing artist

          Those are three options, there’s probably more and that’s the kind of strategy that has to take place when someone asks to go part time.

          It’s naive for the part time person to say “well you don’t have to pay me benefits now so please put that in my paycheck”. It could easily be costing the business more to facilitate the part timer than it ever cost in benefits.

          (FWIW, our part time employees accrue vacation and sick time.)

          1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            Exactly. It’s generally more expensive to manage two part time employees than one full time. Our part time folks get PTO as well, but not as much (they max out at fewer vacation days). I don’t think you need as much vacation if you only work three days a week.

            1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

              It’s also damn hard to hire part time people to full the other half of the role. The vast majority of job seekers want a full time job.

    3. addiez*

      Just a thought – but when people go part-time at my organization, they still get benefits. I know that’s not the case everywhere, but you could also approach the situation not assuming you’ll lose all those things as well. Like keeping the salary (though as others have noted, since you were likely working more than 40 hours I could see why they wouldn’t want to pay you the exactly prorated) but then also getting some PTO as well.

  5. Yetanotherjennifer*

    #4: That happened to my husband. Towards the end of the interview process the position was put on hold while the company went through a reorganization. He assumed the job was unavailable and continued looking. They contacted him with an offer nearly 6 months later. As luck would have it, we were in the airport on the way to another interview when he got the call. That lead to an offer as well, so we had two very tempting offers to consider. He took the second job because it had significantly less travel.

  6. Kris10*

    I asked the #4 question, thanks so much for answering Alison! I guess I’m just worried when (and if) the time comes for hiring to move forward (potentially months from now) I may not be remembered as well, or stand out from the rest. Just for clarification, should I send a check in email asking about their timeline in a month from our last email (which was when he told me he’d be in touch) or just leave it be?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If he told you he’d be in touch in a month, I wouldn’t check in that soon if you haven’t heard from him; give him the chance to meet his own timeline, and then some. (And assume it’ll take longer than the timeline he gave you.) So I’d say if you haven’t heard anything for 6-8 weeks, it’s fine to check in and see if he can tell you anything more about their likely timeline for re-starting the process. But that’s not about staying on his radar; it’s about genuinely getting a bit more information (because you might hear they’re not going to hire at all, or it’ll be six months, or actually they hired someone, or they’re planning to contact people next week, etc.).

      After that, I wouldn’t reach out again; they’ll reach out if they do want to talk to you, but meanwhile I’d assume it’s not happening, move on, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they get in touch.

      1. Kris10*

        Okay, thanks for the advice! I am genuinely curious about his timeline as well, and can’t help but wonder what’s going on. But I guess I’m going to have to put it out of my mind and just continue on with the job search!

        1. addiez*

          I think Allison’s frequent advice is true here – assume what they’re telling you is true. They need to have more contracts put in place before they bring someone in. That makes sense! And from the other side, you probably would prefer a job that’s stable so it’s good they’re doing so.

  7. Lauren*

    Follow-up question:

    “That said, what your husband’s company did was illegal. They can’t dock the pay of an exempt worker for working a half day, and by doing that, they treated him as non-exempt, which means that they could have ended up owing him a whole bunch of overtime pay that he would have been entitled to as a non-exempt worker.”

    So if I’m an exempt employee, out of PTO, and get sick after working 3.75 hours, they can’t mark it as an unpaid day? My company operates in 4-hour blocks – if you work under 4 hours, you get charged PTO/are unpaid, and if you work at least 4 hours, that’s a full day regardless of when you leave afterwards (although it’s expected you do 10-hour days regardless). So you always have to work at least 4 hours to get paid.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you’re exempt and you use up all your sick time and then miss more work for being sick, they can deduct pay for full-day absences if they have a policy for doing so … but they cannot deduct pay for partial days. If you’re exempt and you work part of the day, you have to be paid for the full day. (To be clear, they can deduct from your PTO; we’re just talking about pay here.)

      The DOL says: “Deductions for partial day absences generally violate the salary basis rule, except those occurring in the first or final week of an exempt employee’s employment or for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If an exempt employee is absent for one and one-half days for personal reasons, the employer may only deduct for the one full-day absence. The exempt employee must receive a full day’s pay for the partial day worked.”

      Moreover, the DOL says that if your employer has an actual practice of making improper deductions from employees’ pay (as opposed to isolated or inadvertent improper deductions), the exempt salary basis rule “will not be met during the time period in which the improper deductions were made for employees in the same job classification working for the same manager(s) responsible for the actual improper deductions” — meaning that they would have treated you as non-exempt during that period and might owe you overtime if you worked more than 40 hours in a week.

      1. EmmaB*

        So question. I am exempt. I went to work earlier this year. Was there a little over an hour before I got sick at my desk. I had three hours of sick time left. They paid me for the hour I was there, took my last three sick time hours, and then docked me four hours pay. If I’m reading your comment correctly, that would be illegal?

      2. OP3*

        Thanks for answering my question, Alison. I thought there was something not-right about what my husband’s company did.

        I have a follow-up question about this: “If you’re exempt and you work part of the day, you have to be paid for the full day. (To be clear, they can deduct from your PTO; we’re just talking about pay here.)” What if you’ve exhausted your PTO? What’s the point of deducting from someone’s PTO if it’s going to be “paid time” regardless?

        1. doreen*

          The point of deducting from PTO is so that you don’t have that PTO available to use at some other time. Let’s say that over the course of a year, I leave early (due to illness or doctor’s appointments or whatever) on three or four occasions that add up to a full day of work. If I must use my PTO for a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there, I will use up a full day of PTO, just like someone who was out for a single full day. If partial day deductions from PTO aren’t required, a person could conceivably get the equivalent of a couple of extra days of leave by taking partial days.

  8. fposte*

    They can’t make you take it unpaid. They *can* take it out of your PTO time. Feds and most states don’t care about PTO time; they just can’t treat you as if you’re non-exempt by docking your actual pay for being sick. (They can actually do it for a personal day, though.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Interestingly, this is one of the exceptions to the “can’t dock exempt employees’ pay” rule. If they have a sick leave plan, and you’ve used up all your sick leave and then you take more sick days, they can deduct for full-day absences for those sick days, just not for partial ones. More on this above!

  9. Stuart*

    number 2 – blocking an internal transfer. As far as I could tell at the time, that happened to me. I applied for transfer out of a department that had become toxic for me, and got blocked from any transfers.

    I left to become a freelance IT consultant instead and made more than twice what they were paying me. I heard from an internal spy that in the 6 months after I left the entire management structure changed, with the manager responsible for the toxicity being put on a project where he spent all day reading magazines, and without any people management responsibilities.

  10. Anonie Nonie*

    #4 – this happened to me. The position was put on hold. About 4 months later, I followed up and briefly updated the hiring manager on what I had been doing. 4 months after that, I got a call asking me to come in for an interview and ended up getting the job. (It ended up being an 8 month hold). I think one check in a few months later is okay.

  11. Alanis*

    UK public sector here as well. What a secondment also allows you to do is move into a fixed term post without risk. Because the public sector has killer benefits and fairly good job security, many people wouldn’t leave a permanent job to go to an 1 or 2 year contract even for more money. It wouldn’t be worth the risk. This allows people to try out those jobs with the security of their old job to go back to. It benefits the employer because they get a much more skilled and experienced employee than they usually would on a fixed term contract. Generally, a manager that blocks secondments is looked a bit askance at. It happens but it’s no really the culture.
    This is interesting to me because I’m interviewing for a private sector job and trying to come up with how much of a raise I need to walk away from my killer benefits.

  12. voyager1*

    #2: I just want to say, thank you AAM for saying why people leave a company! If only the folks who blocked moves/advancements for petty reasons read this blog maybe you would get less frustrated letter writers. To me someone advancing their career OR taking initive to cover a job while someone is out should not be blocked by petty manger.

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I can see only a handful of reasons to block an internal promotion.

      1. The employee has been with you less than a year, so you are not ready to vouch for their promotion to a new team even if the other manager likes them.

      2. It’s a temporary juggle (like in the OP’s case) and you won’t be able to get coverage for such a short time. In cases like that I can see why it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Especially if you know an internal position for that will not be opening up soon and thus don’t want to bait your employee with “learning those skills” when you know he/she won’t be able to use them.

  13. Nate*

    Yeah, if I found out my manager had blocked my advancement in a company, I would be on the lookout for a new job pretty quickly. That said, I agree that if it were a temporary position, then it makes sense for the manager to not want to have to train and cover for the person while they are gone.

  14. ResLifer*

    I worked in Residence life (managing a dorm at a university) and I was exempt and it was a nightmare. We were all expected to maintain 9-5 office hours and then one night a week, we were expected to hold an an emergency coverage phone and not allowed to leave school grounds (we are all given free 2 bedroom apartments on campus for us and our families). What was tough is if you had a crazy night of arrests and student hospital transports. There were plenty of nights where I never slept and was expected to come in or take sick time. Also if I called out sick and was on call that night I was still expected to respond in person to calls. It made no sense. I took it to our Union once and they said we were exempt and there was nothing we could do. What killed me was other people who worked on call – janitorial, University emt, and University police were all paid overtime for after hour responses.

    1. OP3*

      I just saw this! This is kind of funny to me because my husband is a residence hall director, and neither of us have ever thought it was odd that he was exempt. It’s just the nature of the job for him to be available at all hours. Thankfully we live on a campus where students don’t get in trouble a lot, so he doesn’t have to deal with after-hours stuff that often. After four years in the job he’s still going strong and we’re raising our son in the hall. It’s infinitely better than his restaurant management job!

      On the other hand, I work in the main office for Residence Life (same campus) and that’s where I’m noticing this double-standard with my exempt colleagues, who are expected to have butts-in-seats for at least 50 hours a week but use PTO if they want to leave early. Maybe it’s part of the Res Life mentality about always being available…?

  15. Another Jim*

    In regards to the exempt double standard this is something I’ve only really seen at my current employer. We are basically exempt at a daily basis. We are required to do a minimum nine hour work day, but if we say we take a half day on Friday we don’t do PTO make up for the hours missed that day. So by Noon on Friday you would have worked forty hours, but you still have to take 4 hours of PTO to make up for that half day at the end. It’s a very weird dynamic.

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