Overtime approval request problem
On another post, Pauline writes in a comment that her boss is ignoring her emails about overtime approval. Maybe this is your situation? Or you know someone dealing with a similar issue. With a few additions / changes for the purpose of this post, here’s what she wrote and my reply:
Dear Ronnie Ann,
My pay was short 33.5 hrs overtime. Payroll said they needed something from my manager to document the overtime approval. I have sent 3 emails with no response. And I even asked if there was something I could do to expedite this, and future situations. But I still haven’t received a reply.
In the meantime she has sent emails regarding new procedures or training opportunities to all staff. I work mostly nights so rarely see her. This isn’t new. She routinely doesn’t approve overtime that is clearly marked on the schedule. Ronnie Ann … I’m at a loss.
I could go to the union but that really will get her mad. Advice?
My response to Pauline:
First, I want to say how sorry I am that you’re dealing with this. You deserve to be paid for your time, without having to jump through all kinds of hoops to get it. Since I don’t know all your circumstances and also since (I assume) you don’t want to do anything that threatens your job, I’ll just offer some thoughts and questions.
(1) Is it company policy that your boss needs to approve each instance of overtime? Since you say this isn’t an isolated case, that tells me that the company must (or should) know this is going on. That concerns me some. Although maybe there’s more to the story on their part.
(2) I hope you have been documenting all emails and any other related notes. And saving a copy in a separate personal folder (not company email) so you have access just in case.
(3) You say you rarely see your boss. But can you make it a determined point to stay longer? Or somehow purposefully see her face to face. (Polite and professional tone, of course.) You can discuss the overtime approval — and how to handle it in the future, as you’ve tried to do. Sometimes looking a person in the eyes gets results email can’t.
Maybe a phone call can help spark an answer?
(4) It seems like you might be a bit worried about direct confrontation. But you never know. Just a friendly “Oh hi. I’m so glad to reach you, (her name).” is a good way to start the conversation. Best to keep it friendly. But also short and to the point, showing you respect her time.
If she does answer, great. You’ve finally got her attention. So take a deep breath (in and out) and start. Remind yourself you are in the right. And deserve what you earned. But stay polite and respectful with her.
If not, maybe a phone message? Just say you’ve been trying to reach her by email, but seem not to be getting through. Mention the overtime approval. And ask her again to let you know if there is a better way to reach her for this in the future.
(5) If you weren’t able to speak, but instead left a voicemail … then follow up with an email. Use a Subject Line that says “Overtime Approval Request for Pauline (lastname).” Or whatever the right words are for you. (This can help keep it from being deleted or spammed.) And reference your phone message, saying you’re just following up.
Where else to find help (maybe)
(6) Alternatively, maybe Payroll can help you by sending your boss a polite request for overtime approval. This should be something they’d want to help with. Kind of strange if they don’t. Or speaks to something more about management structure. They can simply say they need it to process your check.
If you are entitled to overtime as part of the work you do, then I believe you are owed this regardless. Here’s some information on the topic from the Department of Labor:
(7) What happens if you seek help from your union or elsewhere and she does get mad? Can you live with that, knowing you’re standing up for yourself? Or is your job in danger? Or will she just make it very uncomfortable for you in some way?
Again keep documenting everything related to this.
(8) Can your union protect you if your boss does take action against you? Would be good to find out where they stand on such things in general, without giving them specifics for now. And maybe they can also clue you in on political reality at your company unofficially.
But be careful at this point not to say anything bad about anyone (even if they do), just in case there is cross-communication. You never know.
(9) Are you prepared / able to leave if this doesn’t work in your favor? Even if not right away, you can start laying the groundwork for change if things don’t improve.
I know that’s a lot. But I hope maybe some of it will help you figure out your next steps. Even trigger your own solutions for overtime approval. You deserve to get paid, Pauline. But only you know how much room you have to maneuver. Good luck!
~ Ronnie Ann
If you do the work
You deserve to get paid.
That’s just basic respect!!
If not … maybe time to look elsewhere.
That’s respect for yourself!
(Even if it takes time.)
More posts to help
And just in case you do need to leave
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