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Defiant Aussie worker leaks texts with boss after fiery start-time debate: 'No way you'll be paid'

But an expert has spoken out and explained why this is necessary for some roles.

A worker has stood their ground after their boss wanted them to clock in 15 minutes early without being paid for that time. Workplace etiquette takes many forms and some people have a mentality that being on time for work is actually late.

Outsourcing expert Michael Sanz shared a heated text chain between a boss and their employee after they were questioned for starting at 9am. A Bunnings worker recently sparked a similar debate about whether they should be expected to work the time they are rostered and paid for.

But, recruitment expert Graham Wynn had a reality check for some Aussies, telling Yahoo Finance that many roles require you to hit the ground running at the exact time you are rostered to start.

outsourcing expert Michael Sanz talking about this boss next to transcript of text messages
A worker wanted to know whether they would be paid extra after their boss asked them to start 15 minutes early. (Source: TikTok)

Do you have a story about your work practices? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

"If you are in a call centre, generally the machine logs you in to start work, so if your start time is 9am, then you need to be ready to go, and not arrive at 9, make your coffee chat about what was on TV last night etc," Wynn said.

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"This is fairly standard in such industries.

"Similar with hospitality or retail, you need to be ready to start work at your time, not just arrive for work at your start time."

Is arriving on time considered late?

Sanz shone a light on one case where a manager text their staff member asking why they clocked on at 9am.

The employee replied saying that was their start time but the boss insisted that wasn't good enough.

The boss wanted their worker to start 15 minutes earlier without extra pay so they were ready for the day. (Source: TikTok)
The boss wanted their worker to start 15 minutes earlier without extra pay so they were ready for the day. (Source: TikTok)

"You need to be ready to start at 9am, so that means you need to get in at least 15 minutes [early]," the boss said.

The team member said the system doesn't allow them to log their time sheet a time earlier than 9am and asked whether they would be compensated for that extra quarter of an hour.

Sanz said this is happening across Australia.

"Companies want the team member to get in extra early so they're ready, they're dressed, so they can start straight away," he explained. "Fair enough, but a lot of people aren't paid for that time, so I can see the problem."

The boss didn't seem too happy about the question around pay.

"There is no way, it's not something you are paid for," they wrote. "You just need to be ready to start at 9, and not just walk in."

The team member insisted they are ready to start when they walk in, but the boss was persistent and told them to come in earlier in the future so there "isn't a rush" in the morning.

"Once you sort out how we can clock in 15 minutes early, I'll start that," the employee replied.

"Or perhaps you want me to finish 15 minutes early? Happy either way.

"Just need to be clear on if I'm paid for the extra time or how you want to structure this so it works for everyone."

Being inflexible can hurt your career progression

The worker's defiance against their boss's orders was praised by many on social media.

"If you are logging on at 9am, then it sounds like you are working at 9am," said one user.

"Pay vs cost of living isn’t on par and there’s no incentive for me to give my free time or do anymore than my contract requires," wrote another.

A third hit back and said: "Agree with the employer totally it’s just decent to be ready to work at your start time."

Workers are not legally required to arrive early to work but do need to be at their workplace and commence work-related tasks in line with the hours they are being paid.

Any company with mandates which require workers to arrived within a specified time before the start of a shift cannot be legally enforced. For example, if an employee is expected to arrive by 7.45 am to prepare for a store opening at 8 am, the employee should be paid from 7.45 am onwards, according to the Fair Work Commission.

But, Wynn said being really rigid when it comes to manager requests can hurt your career prospects.

"If you always arrive at your start time, and leave exactly at your finish time, then you will more than likely be overlooked for promotions etc," he told Yahoo Finance. "Employers always look to reward those who put in that little bit extra effort."

He added that every industry is different when it comes to working expectations, but workers should tread carefully.

"If you are paid by the hour, then being able to log off / on is important as that will define your wages,' he said.

"However, if, as in a call centre you simply log on early to be ready to start work, then this shouldn’t be paid.

"Salaried staff are treated differently, additional time worked is generally not paid, however, if they need to come in late of finish early, then generally employers will allow this and not deduct time, but you will always work extra than you get back, when salaried."

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