“My situation isn’t too bad. My concerns are mostly from observations of how others have been treated. I think that the abuse of one employee turns many more against management and contributes significantly to the adversarial climate in Washington’s labor market. In my case, what has been done to my coworkers over the last twenty years impacts other employers, who will find me (and others like me) suspicious of their intentions when they advertise for new positions as exempt.
I do not work an extensive number of overtime hours. But I do work a few hours every week, and I do not get paid for them. I am an accountant for a private business in Yakima. Typically, I work 40-42 hours per week, but I have worked up to 50 hours in a week. When I work extra hours, it’s usually by my choice, though I am very cautious about staying later than my scheduled time because I do not want that to become expected of me. When I work overtime, it is usually working through my lunch break or past the end of the day in order to finish something I have been working on.
I consider myself an efficient worker—I do not waste time, and after five years now, I can do my job in fewer than forty hours per week. My boss insists that because I am a salaried worker I need to be in the office during scheduled hours even when I have no work to do. I have to look “busy.” I resent having to effectively punch a time clock. Salaried workers should be able to do less work for the same pay during times when work is not available, or do the same work for the same pay in fewer hours if they are able. For example, when I have a doctor’s appointment, I have to use my paid time off. I think it’s ridiculous considering there is nothing for me to do at the office anyway.
I prefer not to work overtime at all. I would rather be at home where I can sit on my patio bench with my feet up and watch my cats play in the backyard. Or trim the flowers or work on one of my sewing projects or any of the home improvement projects on my list. Really, if I could just go home when I complete my work, that would be ideal. I would have time to sew clothes, recover the couch, email my sister, and mow the lawn, and I could stop stressing about all the things I try to get done every Saturday.
— Jana B., accountant