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Author Topic: Docked Pay for taking a Pee  (Read 862 times)

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Offline despickableTopic starter

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Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« on: May 29, 2013, 11:32:39 AM »
I work in a call centre not this one, but plans of a similar system is on the cards at work places
What do others think of the story and have you had similar work experiences

http://m.heraldsun.com.au/business/worklife/staff-at-aegis-australia-call-centre-in-werribee-had-pay-cut-for-toilet-breaks/story-fni0d8zi-1226651670765

This is a time when one can't take the piss

Offline Oniya

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 11:59:05 AM »
I'd find the person responsible for this idea, tie him to a chair and give him a Foley.  Or at least explain the process in graphic detail, with visual aids.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 12:52:14 PM »
Um... it was a mistake.

Quote
After detailed review, three instances were identified where the process had failed and time deductions were made that were incorrect against standard operating procedures.

[...]

The concerned employees have each been spoken to and the minimal monies owed will be paid in the next pay cycle.

There's not a controversy here, unless you consider an error made by an automated time-keeping system a controversy. In which case... you should call one of those customer service lines that's answered and serviced exclusively by voice-recognition software. See how long your faith in machines holds out. >.>

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 01:12:09 PM »
Alexander Solzhenitsyn recounted how, getting whisked out of the Soviet Union as a state enemy (February 1974) on board a special plane, where he was the only civilian passenger, somewhere over Poland he had to go to the loo. As soon as he approached it, he was followed by two guarding soldiers who didn't actually stop him, but - stood squarely on the threshold as he went in, so the door couldn't be closed. "Oh, please!" he tried in exasperation. "Well allright, men do it like this."  :D

(Only a few days later did he realize that their real concern had been to make sure he would not try to kill himself in the toilet room and embarrass the Kremlin)

Offline Moraline

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 04:17:56 PM »
Systems like this are quite common in call centres.

I helped implement a system in a call centre once. We examined a variety of models and several of them contain "away" systems where anytime an employee is logged onto an "away" code they are considered not working and it doesn't tally into their total hours worked.

In Canada (where I'm from), most provinces/states don't have laws to protect employees from systems like this. Many people think that there are rules in place but mostly they don't exist. It's considered equivalent to a piece work system where the employees only get paid for the work that they do. (From what I understand, US laws are the same.)

Call centres for the last several years running have shown up on many lists as the most stressful jobs in both the US and Canada. It's not surprising with the way the employees are treated. They are often given quality expectations that are beyond reasonable and designed with the purpose of reducing employee commission based incentive programs. (Or keeping them afraid for their jobs.)

The particular company that I worked for advertised our new system to the frontline staff as a way to "create a consistent quality customer experience." And it worked to a certain extent but they never showed the low level managers or frontline reps the real numbers that they were basing decisions on. All of the internal confidential conversations revolved around increased sales and decreasing employee commission payouts. They made it look on one hand like the payout could be higher then reduced the overall actual payouts to the employees while showing emails of the "top sales agents." This was done by setting quality standards unrealistically high, frequently changing the guidelines for quality and effectively making it impossible for most employees to reach the standards. This was all done intentionally knowing the results. Anyone that works in a centre knows that commission payouts are often based on "employee performance," ie: have you met quality standards?

My personal favorite (sarcasm) low down thing to do was, how they'd remove an employees commission entirely if they missed more then a certain amount of time from work. So if you're a parent with a sick child and miss a couple days of work... You can forget about getting your commission that month to help pay for Little Jimmies medicine.

... And if you don't like it as an employee or try to form a union... No problem... The company will just shut down and outsource the call centre to either another location or another company. (Often in another country.)

(FYI: I worked in network operations of a major internet service provider. )

And that people, is why when you have problem with your internet you end up talking to an uneducated, unskilled worker that's forced to read from a script. So even if the employee is knowledgeable it doesn't matter, they are FORCED to read you the same regurgitated scripted crap. As an employee they either read it or they will get fired for not meeting quality guidelines.

And don't forget your call maybe monitored for quality and training purposes! Read: "So we always have an excuse to fire your call centre rep" ...because they deviated from the script and said "hi" instead of "hello."  Yes, it really is that bad.

That's right, I'm looking at you Bell and EastLink!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 04:19:30 PM by Moraline »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2013, 09:17:15 PM »
Yup, it's the kind of work environment where control is laid bare sometimes, and where it can turn out a bit anarchic at other times. A friend of mine who worked part-time at a call center for a couple months told me how the firm went low on money and was sold off to a bigger company. When the employees realized their wages for the last two months had been ditched and that most of them would not get rehired, they shut down some of the lines, gave joke answers to inbound service calls and started tossing paper planes, as if they were at school with the teacher out.  :D

Offline despickableTopic starter

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 09:44:31 PM »
While they did mention in the article that that employees were going to be reimbursed for monies lost, that only happened after the whistle was blown on the company as a face saving device.
Those complaining will find it tougher  with one wrong thing might see them out the door. That kind of work pressure is not conducive to good work or customer service.

Where i work has been experimenting with a similar idea. We see it silly that we have to tell a supervisor we want to go to the toilet like we are back in preschool. Miss Miss I have to go piss.

They call it  personal time or PT we jokingly call it poop time.
Our place is fairly good the bosses see it like us a little silly and we make jokes about it. But to be fair if employees could get away with being away from their station they find it. The problem is that many employees see this as a part time job while they study for careers and not treat it with respect. We do have unionisation in the place and many believe this system is in reaction to pushing for more money and making sure they get the full value of their outlay of wages to staff.

Excuse me.. I have to go on Personal Time right now

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 05:28:09 PM »
That's right, I'm looking at you Bell and EastLink!

Having worked in call centers good and bad, and having had to deal with what passes for "customer service" from both of those companies... not one whit of this surprises me. It should be noted that a fun side effect of this is that certain customers literally cannot get service, because their issue isn't in the script. (Try getting a drop line repaired sometime. It took me three weeks, partly because the script choked and died when the problem was occurring on more than one service, and partly because there was apparently no way except the notes field to indicate that they would need line-repair gear and not just some Cat 5, some coax, and a spare modem.)

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 06:43:21 PM »
We have an in house time keeping system for our phone contact teams.  They have to clock in at the start of the day, out at lunch, in after lunch and out when they go home.  Senior management (me) can override the system if they forget.  The system also tracks idle time which begins sixty seconds after a call ends and stops when the next call is taken.  Calls roll through the team to the next free line so none of them get overlooked.  The all get a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon and do have the ability to leave their station for bathroom breaks without penalty though the system will show idle time and unanswered calls at their station.  I get daily reports with weekly summaries and it's a headache to review them but necessary.  A lax team member brings the team down and creates dissension.  It's up to me to counsel team members who have inappropriate idle time.  The only idle time not counted in review situations is when the team member is called to the day care center for their child.  Since that is done through the system and by phone we have good records for that.

The system does go down now and then and there is another headache but since we don't dock people's pay without prior notice we don't have much of a problem. 

Offline Moraline

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 10:11:07 PM »
We had a similar system to that as well, BeMi. Originally. Even that system can be mistreated very easily.

Our company was sold on the efficiency models and the hard cost savings stats. Then it turned into an oppressive slave labor system. Our call centre staff loved their jobs until that system came along then every step they took, they took away the employees freedoms. In less then 2 years they had almost a complete turn over of staff including most lower level managers (Team Leads.)

What I find odd, is that it's the only service where people seem to think it's alright to monitor every second of an employees day, grade them on things down to the 100th of a percentage point in every aspect of their jobs, and constantly lecture(coach) the employees. Even common sense will tell you that's a recipe for disaster and it's no wonder most call centres have really fast turn arounds on employees. Human psychology can't take that kind of abuse for extended periods of times. We all have strings of bad times and good times, when you nit pick at a humans work day with such ruthless efficiency you will eventually wear away at their core. You'll strike nerves. All these systems do is set employees up for failure. And an employee working under those conditions will not give the best service or the best side of themselves to customers.

Almost no other field of service or production is as indepthly micromanaged as call centres.

Having worked in call centers good and bad, and having had to deal with what passes for "customer service" from both of those companies... not one whit of this surprises me. It should be noted that a fun side effect of this is that certain customers literally cannot get service, because their issue isn't in the script. (Try getting a drop line repaired sometime. It took me three weeks, partly because the script choked and died when the problem was occurring on more than one service, and partly because there was apparently no way except the notes field to indicate that they would need line-repair gear and not just some Cat 5, some coax, and a spare modem.)
Here's another funny story for you.

When I first began work for that company we used to give tours of the network operations centres and communications hubs to the frontline call centre tech people. We did it, because these people were all well trained, well educated, and knew their stuff. Some of them eventually ended up working in the network operations with us.

When I left a few years ago, the only qualification for being in the technical support call centre, was the ability to use a computer and read & write. Half of those employees had never even seen the inside of a computer. And those are the people they got reading from the scripts. It's no wonder they needed the scripts.

To this day, if I have an issue with my internet I'll call one of my friends that works there. I refuse to call into the centre because it's a complete waste of my time. I wont' go through the stupid script with them.

Side Note: After they implemented the scripts and replaced all the educated/trained employees with the new script readers, they more then doubled the average length of a call, and more then doubled the numbers of calls into the supervisors (They call them Tier 2's). Then to top it off, they started hiring Tier 2's from outside the company so they were bringing in people with even less training and corporate knowledge. These Tier 2's used to call into us at the Network Ops to ask questions... Eventually we had to tell them that we wouldn't take their calls anymore because it was a constant string of stupid questions from untrained Tier 2's.

And lets not even get started with traffic shaping on the internet! Or another of my favorites... Prioritizing sales queue calls over billing calls when the billing calls constitute the largest share of the call volume. Then prioritizing agents to take the sales calls first and only setting aside a tiny number of agents to answer the billing inquiries. Oh yeah... See, these fancy new call centre software devices are designed to maximize profits.

Anyways, I could go on all day about how horrible call centres are and what's wrong with them and how the communications industry is the biggest abuser of the broken call centre system but I better bow out so I stop monopolizing the conversation.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 07:48:50 AM »
Guess people have never had a researcher follow them around to literally count their steps.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 09:45:30 PM »
Guess people have never had a researcher follow them around to literally count their steps.

*nods* Time study men used to be the bane of factories and schools. And hospitals, I reckon?

Offline Moraline

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 10:06:47 PM »
In many places they are called, "efficiency experts."  Those guys come around "once in awhile."

You think you don't like those people?

In the call centre, there is no escaping them. They are there all the time and every day. Only it's not a person it's a ruthless cold statistical spreadsheet and steady stream of recorded phone calls. Every second is monitored for the entire duration you are an employee. The "Efficiency experts" never let up and they keep changing the rules to benefit themselves and make you fail at your job so they can save a few dollars.

*edits* and points back up to the original posts news article.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 10:08:10 PM by Moraline »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2013, 10:51:37 PM »
Efficiency experts is what they were called.  They would follow the nursing staff around to time and count their steps while they did their jobs.  Then the experts would move stuff around to make the job more efficient which typically the changes did not, because nurses had already moved the stuff for their own convenience and efficiency.  Interesting enough one of the many agencies that regulates hospitals would then come through (TJC, CMS,etc) and declare the changes a violation, fine the hospital and make them put everything into a less efficient method or path, though the time models would still remain.  Then experts would in to monitor the way report was given, the length of time certain procedures and aspects of patient care were delivered.  At a few hospitals there is a monitor that checks to see when the nurse's name tag passes through the patient door and times their interaction.  Yet then patient's complain that their nurse appears rushed, is not at their bedside long enough or is not in their room enough.  Patient relations then complains about the nurse who gets written up and told that the patient is the number one priority, but then gets yelled at for taking too long.  Then a nurse is also written up if a medication is given outside the time frame written by the doctor despite the possibility the nurse might be walking a patient, consoling a patient, admitting someone or performing CPR. 

Offline CmdrRenegade

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 10:40:05 AM »

Offline Moraline

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2013, 02:06:00 PM »
This basically? Hope this makes a few of you laugh

http://video.adultswim.com/harvey-birdman-attorney-at-law/theres-gonna-be-some-changes.html
That was hilarious and so very true. The joys of capitalist $lavery.


Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2013, 05:25:36 PM »
Yeesh.. This is why you buy text books and study to get ahead in your spare time. Jobs like this are just not worth it nor is it a battle worth fighting. From my limited experience, it seems that the higher you climb, the less policies like this apply.

From a more cynical point of view, perhaps they could just retrofit each employees chair with a seat belt, feeding tube, catheter, excrement removal tube of some sort. Food or hydration could be provided so as to minimize the cost of feeding them while providing the minimum required amount of nutrition needed to sustain them though their shift. Electric shocks could be automatically administered when their behaviour deviates from what has been dictated and a sugar solution could be injected into their mouth or veins to reinforce desired behaviour. This would also reduce the need for management - another big savings!

I know the workplace isn't this bad yet, but in cases like this, its starting to look like people are being treated like cattle.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 05:29:19 PM by TaintedAndDelish »

Online Thesunmaid

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2013, 12:58:31 PM »
Used to work in a call center...well actually I am going on the 5th call center on the 22nd. I had my supervisor ask me in a nasty tone when I walked back to my desk.

Him:Where were you? we are busy!"
Me: I went to the bathroom.*kept walking and he follows*
Him:well we are busy and I need to know where my agents are at all times!
Me: Looks at him..looking down by the way...he is about 5 inches shorter than so i think hes suffering Napoleon syndrome."I went to the bathroom."
Him:What were you doing there?!"
Me:Ok(insert his name here) There are three things that a woman uses a toilet for...would you really like me to get into details of exactly what I was doing for any of them...cause I would be happy to tell you all about my bathroom habits but lets just say that this is not something you will understand unless I kick you really hard in the crotch."

Needless to say he backed off and left me alone from then on.

Offline alextaylor

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 11:03:16 AM »
Ugh... yeah. Unfortunately I've been on the management end on a few of these and I quit because I couldn't ethically be responsible for treating people like that. If someone is doing a good job for $200/month, management will find a way to get someone to do the same job for $180/month, or get them to work from 8 hours to 12 hours to 14 hours (under some legal loophole, of course).

I think it's absurd how people are trying to squeeze the most out of workers. People are treated as just a fixed cost, rather than living, breathing creatures who can perform better or worse based on how they're treated. I'd thought that labor laws were unnecessary, because people would just quit an abusive job. But turns out that a lot of managers dealing with undereducated workers are only aiming at making jobs slightly less abusive than the competition.

What I really hate is that managers are getting so highly paid for scaring off the people who are doing all the work. Shareholders don't care about the subtle, quiet effects of good management, they want to see the direct savings from pay docking.

Offline Cycle

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2013, 12:00:21 PM »
There is a basic concept that these managers are overlooking.

Most people focus on trying to satisfy their needs.  Almost everyone does this.  That is why there is conflict in relationships.  Party A is trying to satisfy his needs while Party B is trying to satisfy hers.  Clash of goals and no agreement on expenditure of resources.

If one focuses on satisfying someone else's needs first, in most cases, that influences the other person to act to satisfy your needs in return.  A acts to satisfy B's needs, B's needs, now met, turns around an spends B's time and resources on satisfying A's needs.  This doesn't always happen, of course, but it happens more often than most people believe.

A success manager focuses on their team member and their customers' needs.  And stops.  No hidden agendas.  They just have faith that it will work out.

And it does.

SunMaid, if your manager said to you, when you came  back:  "Hey [first name], are you okay?"  I would bet your response would be either neutral or positive.  Certainly not negative.  And in turn, I suspect you would have accomplished more that day.

This is just my view, of course.  But I can say, based on personal experience and results, it works.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Docked Pay for taking a Pee
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2013, 03:09:58 AM »
There is a basic concept that these managers are overlooking.

Most people focus on trying to satisfy their needs.  Almost everyone does this.  That is why there is conflict in relationships.  Party A is trying to satisfy his needs while Party B is trying to satisfy hers.  Clash of goals and no agreement on expenditure of resources.

If one focuses on satisfying someone else's needs first, in most cases, that influences the other person to act to satisfy your needs in return.  A acts to satisfy B's needs, B's needs, now met, turns around an spends B's time and resources on satisfying A's needs.  This doesn't always happen, of course, but it happens more often than most people believe.

A success manager focuses on their team member and their customers' needs.  And stops.  No hidden agendas.  They just have faith that it will work out.

And it does.


+1. I've found this to be quite true.