Overtime Saturday. Sorry, I can’t make it.

Most commonly, considering the premium pay for overtime work scheduled for weekends and holidays, it is aggressively sought, even battled over. But in some cases, employees may regard it as an inconvenience and turn it down. If they can.
By Raymond Dreyfack February 1, 2000

Most commonly, considering the premium pay for overtime work scheduled for weekends and holidays, it is aggressively sought, even battled over. But in some cases, employees may regard it as an inconvenience and turn it down. If they can.

In view of its high cost, management tries to make do without weekend and holiday work. And ordinarily, when such work is scheduled, ample advance notice must be given. But what happens when a worker asked to work on a weekend replies, “Sorry, boss, I can’t make it.” It depends.

Maintenance Foreman Ben Clooney anticipated no problem when he approached Senior Electrician Ted Kaufman Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

“Congratulations, Ted. You’re about to become a rich man.”

Kaufman grinned. “I’m gonna get a raise. Or better still, a promotion.”

“Not exactly. But an emergency situation just came up. I’m scheduling you for work Saturday and Sunday. The lab rewiring job has to be completed by Monday.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I can’t make it. We’re going away for the weekend. Assign the job to someone else.”

“There is no one else. The only other guy qualified for that work is Tom Benuto, and he’s away on vacation. I’m afraid you’re elected.”

Kaufman shook his head. “No can do. Our plans have already been made. Besides, according to the contract an employee is required to be notified 24 hr in advance of weekend and holiday work.”

“That doesn’t apply in this case,” Clooney replied. “I hate to mess up your plans, but this is an emergency. I’ll have to order you to come in to work.”

“And I’ll have to refuse; my wife would kill me.”

Question: Can Clooney require Kaufman to work the weekend?

Rankin’s verdict: “It’s a tough break for Kaufman,” Plant Engineer Bert Rankin told Clooney, “but you had no choice but to order him in. Ordinarily, a worker might get away refusing the assignment on short notice were it not for this clause.” Rankin pulled the labor agreement from a drawer and read aloud: “Advance notice shall not be required when an emergency situation exists and it is not possible for such notice to be given.” Kaufman will have to comply with this provision or suffer the consequences.”