If anyone is willing to read the whole, long thing- thank you! Please give any advice.
I work for a human services agency. By law, there needs to be coverage24 hours a day. The night/weekend team originally consisted of seven workers. Each night we would have one primary worker who took all calls (child abuse referrals) and document them and would respond to emergencies and issues with children already in foster care. The backup worker would often not get any calls, but both workers would regularly get investigations to work on (going to the home to find families). We were also expected to follow up the next day to any of the calls we took. The average number of calls on a night would be 8-10 and the worker would have to respond to emergencies in the middle of the night approximately 4 times per month. Weekends consisted of two workers, and one would be primary one day and backup the next and vice versa. The primary shift was 16 hours long on weeknights and 24 hours long on weekends. However, we were only credited for 10 hours on weeknights and 15 on weekends. We were required to be available for enough hours besides our scheduled hours to equal 40. For example, if we worked one primary shift and one back up shift, we were on call for 32 hours, but only got credit for 20 hours (10 each night) and had to be available 20 more hours. Because we had to follow up on the calls we took, we carried caseloads of 10 to 15 cases per month, which entails extensive home visits, hunting down clients, etc...
This became increasingly difficult because it is not unusual to get 9 calls per 16 hour shift, and each call requires phone interviewing, inputting the referral, checking lexis nexis, etc. This could make each call last almost an hour.
This became very difficult and half the workers quit. We now have four workers and would like to have the schedule changed in the following way- We now are each working two shifts per week with no backup worker. This gives an average of 32 to 40 hours per week during our shifts, and does not include the time spent on paperwork and court that happens after we respond to emergencies. We are now only taking calls and responding to emergencies. All calls that come in and are not emergencies get passed back to the day staff.
The dilemma- Some of the supervisors and a person in HR are claiming that thsi is illegal to give us actual hour for hour credit for our shifts. Us workers are stating that because of the number of calls we get, the frequency of them, and the fact that we have to answer all calls within 15 minutes and respond within an hour if it requires an in person response, we are waiting to be engaged, and should get credit for the time we are on call. We also believe that these are our working hours, not on call hours required in addition to a regular work schedule.
Does anyone have an opinion?