Hospo Voice

6 of the Worst Casual Roster Fails

August 9, 2021

Have you ever copped rosters as shitty as this?

It doesn’t matter if you love the flexibility of being a casual worker or would honestly prefer to be in permanent work. When you’re treated well and given an upfront and regular casual roster, it can totally improve the way you think about your job.

Five million Aussies are in insecure work, and in the hospitality sector, it’s most of us. Employers try to frame it that people in hospitality choose this lifestyle because of the additional pay and flexibility. However, according to the Rebuild Hospo report, most casual workers want permanent jobs.

Although the 25% casual loading that you get as a casual worker covers for sick and annual leave, it doesn’t cover you for insecurity. It certainly doesn’t cover you when you face some of these appalling casual rostering fails. How many have you experienced?

1. Getting rostered on when you’ve already said you’re not available

You tell your boss weeks in advance that you have your cousin’s wedding to attend. You even remind your boss the week before.

Yet when the roster comes out, there it is, a shift from 3 to 11pm on Saturday night, the night of your cousin’s wedding.

Why is it that no matter how much notice you give, you still get rostered on the days you’ve requested off? Then your boss gets shitty at you when you say you can’t do the shift.

A hospo worker from WA told us on Fair Plate: “I would continuously cover shifts but as soon as I needed one of my covered (that I actually booked off! and still got rostered for), I would get my head ripped off.

2. Being punished (fired or reduced shifts) for taking sick leave

Despite all the risks with COVID, this is still way too common. There is still an expectation in the hospitality industry that you can’t take time off when you’re sick. And if you do, well you get punished (like it’s your fault that you picked up a cold from that man who sneezed all over the table last shift?!)

Many of my co-workers were ghosted, including myself, after not receiving shifts for an extended period of time. In particular, I was let go some time after informing them that I was hit by a car and had to take time off work in order to recover,” hospo worker from Victoria told us.

That’s disgraceful!

3. Last minute rosters

How frustrating is it when you get your roster on Sunday night for the week that starts on Monday. Not only can you not plan your life, but it also makes you feel pretty unimportant.

When you get your roster last minute, it’s a dead set giveaway that your boss doesn’t give a rat’s arse about you or your life.

When you hear talk about how great and flexible casual work is, last minute rostering makes it clear they mean for employers, not for workers.

A hospo worker from Victoria told us on Fair Plate: “Aside from underpayment, the owner also gives out unexpected and non-flexible shifts as the roster always gets published at the very last minute.

Have you experienced any of these, or do you have a different pet rostering peeve that we haven’t included?

Complete our rostering survey to let us know

The survey takes about 3 minutes to complete and will help shape our campaign for Fair Rosters Now!

4. Irregular/not enough hours

You go through the interview and trial process, you get a job. Yay! Then they give you one shift a week. What now? Why did they even bother hiring you?

Another annoying one is when you work somewhere where everyone wants more hours and then they hire ANOTHER staff member. You’ve got to ask, why?

I was a casual and would, despite repeatedly asking for more shifts, rarely be given any shifts,” a hospo worker from ACT said.

5. Being rostered “on call”

Ok, we’ve heard of on call in the medical profession – when a doctor is required in case there is an emergency. But in hospitality? I mean it’s hardly life or death.

It’s not like they’re paying you to be ‘on call’. It’s basically just means you’re sitting around in case they have someone call in sick and they can call you at a moment’s notice.

It’s happened to this Tasmanian hospo worker though: “Their “dinner call” shift is pure bogus, with no concern for their staff trying to maintain a work/life balance.”

6. No proper start or finish times

Have you ever had a roster that will just say “on” or “double” rather than outlining the times you can expect to start and finish.

Or a boss who won’t tell you when the shift will finish. It could be 3 hours or it could be 12 hours. The boss decides each night what time they’ll send you home.

“I was expected to just show up every day, not knowing when to start or finish.” a Queensland hospo worker told Fair Plate.

What are the implications of crappy rostering practices?

We all know how annoying it is when you have one of these casual roster fails. They can ruin our social lives, impact on our mental health and make us feel as though our personal lives don’t matter. But they can also have more wide-ranging consequences.

Inconsistent shifts can have a destabilising effect on workers. It makes it more difficult for workers to unite around workplace issues and lowers the chances of them fighting other issues, including harassment, wage theft and exploitation. It’s often a deliberate and calculating move from workers to lower the power imbalance.

Pretty shifty, eh? Have you experienced any of these, or do you have a different pet casual rostering peeve that wasn’t included? Let us know by completing our rostering survey.

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