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On job, but no work
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:36
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Apr 29, 2007

I've a long term interpreting contract with an organization. Earlier there used to be a lot of work, but now, for last couple of days, I'm supposed to be there but there's almost nothing to do in the first half of the day.

I feel as if I'm not doing enough because they are paying me for the whole day, as is stipulated in the contract, but they require my services only for the second half.

At the same time, I can't say that they shouldn't pay because I have to keep these days free, every month and I actually refused another interpreting project because of this contract.

In fact, what is worse is that one of the participants actually made this remark... organisers want me to be there every morning (and they are the one's who pay). But this person, who does not need my services even when I provide them, has some sort of problem (don't know the reason).

I discussed it with the organisers who told me not to listen to her because at the end of the day she does not matter etc.

It is a very ambiguous situation because of her position in the organization that is the real end-client and at the same time there is a proposed change of structure so she'll probably lose that position.

I know it's none of her business and that I'm doing justice to my job. Still, I do feel a bit guilty for not doing anything during the first half.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Thanks a lot for your remarks.

Regards,

Ritu Bhanot


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Agua  Identity Verified
Spain
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge as usual Apr 29, 2007

Hello,

Well, in my opinion, since you can not take any other thing because you MUST be there, they should pay. It is their responsibility to make the best use of your services.

Best,

Mar


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 18:36
German to English
Don´t worry about it. Apr 29, 2007

If I understand your situation correctly, you really shouldn´t worry about it too much. Your money is coming from the organisation, not from this woman. So don´t feel guilty about her. And you are right: you keep the whole day free, so charge a whole day. More to the point, could you afford not to charge a whole day? If you are like most people the probably not. Just ride it out as best you can.

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Barbara Micheletto
Italy
Local time: 18:36
Russian to Italian
+ ...
You should charge... Apr 29, 2007

otherwise they won't feel free to ask you to be there. They would not like to ask you to stay with them as a favour, I think. Would you feel good asking someone (not a relative or a friend, of course, I mean a professional) to devote his/her time to you without paying? They book your service, they pay... then they are free to decide when to use you or not depending on their particular needs. Maybe next week you will be extremely busy even in the first half of the day, who knows.
All the best.

B.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:36
English to French
+ ...
You already answered your own question :) Apr 29, 2007


Ritu Bhanot wrote:

I feel as if I'm not doing enough because they are paying me for the whole day, as is stipulated in the contract, but they require my services only for the second half.

At the same time, I can't say that they shouldn't pay because I have to keep these days free, every month and I actually refused another interpreting project because of this contract.



You have nailed it already. On the one hand, they are paying you for nothing because you don't actually work. On the other hand, you are passing up other work because you have to stay available. If you add it all up, they are not paying you for nothing - they are paying you for your time, which is what already happens when you work normally.

Your client is ready to pay just to have the certainty of having you available when they need you. You are providing this to them, whether you actively work or not. There is nothing wrong with that!

All the best!


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Allen Harris
United States
Local time: 11:36
French to English
+ ...
Bingo! Apr 29, 2007

Viktoria hit the nail on the head: "If you add it all up, they are not paying you for nothing - they are paying you for your time, which is what already happens when you work normally.

Your client is ready to pay just to have the certainty of having you available when they need you. You are providing this to them, whether you actively work or not. There is nothing wrong with that!"

To which I add: consider yourself lucky.


[Edited at 2007-04-29 21:21]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 18:36
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
" they are paying you for your time" Apr 29, 2007

+1

You could do the dishes too, feed the printer ...

Or look for other business chances while on stand-by...

Regards

smo


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:36
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
"Engaged to be waiting" vs "waiting to be engaged" Apr 29, 2007

Do as every one advises and do not feel bad. You are not alone.

At least in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, labor legislation contemplated such a situation long time ago:
"Employees who are temporarily idle while waiting for further work in such a way that they are not able to use the time effectively for their own purposes must still be regarded as working, according to 29 C.F.R. 785.15. The DOL's position regarding "on call" time is found in 29 C.F.R. 785.16 and 785.17. In deciding whether time spent "on call" is compensable, DOL and the courts have traditionally used one variation or another of the test of whether an employee is "waiting to be engaged" (non-compensable time) or is "engaged to be waiting" (compensable time) (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134 (1944))."


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:36
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot Apr 30, 2007

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I know that it's true but somehow I end up feeling bad when someone like this "lady" makes a comment...

It can be difficult dealing with such people. Guess I need to be stronger and more firm towards such people


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gdesai  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:06
German to English
Relax and enjoy Apr 30, 2007

Yes, that is what I would do. Take it easy, do not let others' remarks grind you down.
If at all there is anyone who should feel bad, it is the organiser/management who have engaged you. They are missing out on your talent.
So be of clear conscience and get you just dues!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Just to ease relations in the office ... Apr 30, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I know that it's true but somehow I end up feeling bad when someone like this "lady" makes a comment...

It can be difficult dealing with such people. Guess I need to be stronger and more firm towards such people



Dear Ritu,
I agree with Viktoria and the others that you have no need to feel guilty as the firm is paying you to be available all day whether they give you work or not. However, just to ease your feelings and to make relations more comfortable in the office, the next time this "lady" makes a disparaging remark you could try explaining to her in a friendly way that you were hired on that basis and that you have had to turn down other work because of it - not that you *owe* her any explanation. Perhaps she is dissatisfied with her own situation for reasons quite unconnected with you, and that makes her feel insecure. If she continues to make these remarks nevertheless, then forget it, and carry on regardless!
Best of luck,
Jenny.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
On call Apr 30, 2007

Even though I’m legally self-employed, I’ve worked as an in-house translator at the same company for the last 6 years. According to my contract, I could do the work at home, but my supervisor says she prefers that I go the company’s premises everyday.

I consider myself an “on-call translator”. They like having me physically present in case they need an urgent translation.
I think that’s probably how the company you work for considers you. You’re “on-call” like doctors, firemen and policemen. They have to be at their jobs for long periods, but that doesn’t mean they’re working every minute they’re present. They do get paid for all that time though.

If you’ve talked with some higher up in your company and they don’t seem concerned, I wouldn’t worry about it anymore. You’re in the same situation as many other professionals!


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:36
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm a Freelancer Apr 30, 2007

Hi

Thanks for the remarks. It's not that I'm working as a full-time in-house employee, only I have this 18 months' contract for 5 days a month to work as an interpreter for an organization during their training programme.

In fact, I've never had any problem with anyone there. Good relationships with everyone (including this lady). That's the reason I can't understand why she's acting like this. In fact, they are actually quite happy with my services and want me to work on other projects.

I was quite upset yesterday... but thanks to all your support, I'm already feeling better.



Unfortunately, as I usually get along well with people when there's a slight problem like this, it upsets me a lot.

Ritu


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lingomania
Local time: 03:36
Italian to English
Same thing in the past Apr 30, 2007

I had that kind of situation in the past too. I shouldn't feel guilty if I were you especially if the ORGANIZATION offered YOU that contract in the first place. I must admit I started feeling guilty myself for a period so I "woke up to myself" and one fine morning I walked into the director's office and made my proposal to the company: find some other role for me to fill during the hours I wasn't translating....and they did....answering the phone when the secretary was out, staying at the reception desk, updating the glossaries online, etc. Well, in the end, it worked out fine.

Robert.


[Edited at 2007-04-30 19:06]


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Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 12:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
I spent the morning in jail Apr 30, 2007

today, in a similar situation. There were a couple of deportation hearings I was interpreting for, and since things were slow, my 3 short hearings (not even a morning's worth of work), turned into 2 hours of waiting, 30 minutes of work, and being paid for the whole day- not to mention a LONG time spent in traffic getting to the lock-up.

I have a hard time getting used to being paid to sit and wait, but when I remembered the extra hours of nursery school I would have to pay for I suddenly felt easier.


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