Question:

I work in a clinic and I get paid per session. If the client is sick with a doctor’s note I don’t get paid for that session and the client is not billed. If the client does not come, is not sick, and did not cancel 48 hours in advance, they are billed. However if it is my last client of the day, I do not get paid even though the client is charged for not coming and not cancelling in time.

The secretary at work is office manager and is trusted by the boss to calculate salaries and is privy to all the private information. She sometimes takes liberties to adjust my schedule so that I get paid fully and do not miss out due to the rules especially the “last one of the day don’t get paid” rule.

She feels that the boss takes advantage of the workers and is always looking not to pay us for something. I want to know if I can allow her to do this for me, and if she tells me to adjust the schedule, if I should. I mark my own schedule most of the time. Sometimes she changes it, sometimes we do it together. I don’t know the fine line between using my sechel to get paid maximally, and being a ganav.

For example she might write down that the last one of the day who calls the same day to cancel really was supposed to come an hour earlier, so I would get paid for this. If she would write down that he was end of the day then I wouldn’t get paid (even though the boss gets his payment for the session).

Also there are things that the bosses wouldn’t agree to but if I threaten to leave then they acquiesce so does this mean I can do it without threatening to leave?

So basically can I rely on the office manager since she is given authority, even though I feel she does things that are not necessarily in agreement with the boss? And if the boss is not 100% yasher does that mean we are allowed to counteract what he does in order to kind of break even?

For example, one day 2 clients did not show up and the last one was going to. That means I get paid for the 2 absent clients plus the last one – paid for 3 treatments. The boss cancelled my last client and told me to go home, so that instead of paying me for 3, he would pay for none, saying “you don’t get paid for the last one of the day”. This is fiddling and when I told his wife (the joint boss who smoothes things over especially when he upsets people which he does) that I am leaving unless she pays me for all 3 treatments, she agreed.

So the workers and the office manager feel we have to manipulate things to get a decent salary, otherwise we miss out a lot.

For example, if the last client ofthe day says they are not coming, it is perfectly legal to find another client to come after that time so I get paid for the absent client so my last one of the day will actually be coming.

So can this be stretched further by moving an existing client from earlier in the day and asking them to come later?

And to stretch this even further,  the schedule can just be changed retrospectively but then it will be written that clients came at a different time than they really did (or didn’t, more to the point!) – This is what the secretary did for me a couple of times that I was most concerned about

Please could you define the Halachah for me.

Answer:

  1. Any dishonesty in reporting hours worked is certainly not allowed, despite any complaints as to the unfairness of the conditions of employment.
  2. As to the issue of rescheduling appointments so as to receive payment for the last hour of the workday, even if it would not be considered geneivah, it is nonetheless not in consonance with the spirit of the halachah as expressed by the Rambam (פי”ג שכירות ה”ז).
  3. However, in your situation it would appear that there is certainly nothing wrong with threatening to quit so as to receive improved conditions.

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