My wife works in healthcare as a full-time employee paid on an hourly basis. Up to recently, she has worked at least 32-40 hours a week, and more so if her employer needed her. Recently, her boss has been sending her home more and more, even when she wants to work and needs the money. This is a result of the poor economy.
This situation alarmed me partly because I am a freelancer. I have clients who pay me hourly and only hire me when they have the budget to do so. These clients end up paying me a great deal more than I was making hourly in my former full-time post, but it is in their best interest to do so because they only pay me when the money is there and their budget's allow. As a freelancer, I have the right to refuse work for any number of reasons, and my clients have the right to limit my hours, or not use me at all!
My question is how is her situation fair? I presented the scenario that if she suddenly chose to work at Starbucks to make up for lost pay, could she tell her boss "Sorry I cannot come in until noon, I am working at Starbucks this AM." In that situation I feel like her boss would say this is violating her status as a full time employee. She has the responsibility to be there when her employer asks her to. Right? So, why is it fair for an employer, employing at a full-time status, have the right to send her home and not allow her to make a full-time salary?
I feel that when a person is not working 32+ hours a week, they should be employed as a contractor or freelancer. However, my brief research seems to point in the direction that "full time" is defined by the employer and left at their discretion.
Any thoughts on this? I cannot find an answer anywhere. Please help. Thanks!