Dear Carrie: Does our employer have to provide ample parking for employees? The bus company I drive for has 300 employees, and we don’t have enough spaces for our cars. The shopping center where we routinely park is threatening to tow our cars. Does our employer have to help us? -- Driving Us Crazy
DEAR DRIVING: Unfortunately, making sure employees have ample parking isn’t mandated by labor law.
“Employers are not required to provide parking spots for their employees,” said employment attorney Richard Kass, a partner at Bond, Schoeneck & King in Manhattan.
But it makes sense for the company to alleviate such a vexing problem for employees.
“It is in an employer’s best interests to make sure employees can get to work easily,” Kass said.
And there are options your employer might not think of because it “may have an ingrained bias in favor of public transportation,” Kass said.
So what are some options?
“Perhaps the company can be persuaded to help match employees for carpooling or pay the shopping center to use some of its spots,” Kass said.
Maybe you and your colleagues can brainstorm for other alternatives and present them to the company.
And here’s an option that you personally might consider.
“If all else fails,” Kass said, “the reader can arrive at work early to take one of the available spots.”
DEAR CARRIE: I am an hourly employee. My hours are monitored. If I go over my 37.50 hours a week my supervisor calls me immediately. To make matters worse, I have just been told that I will be doing the job of a salaried employee while she is on vacation for two weeks, in addition to my own work. My boss said I could stay late and come in on Saturday to catch up on my own work, touting all the overtime I will get. Yet, when I have asked to work a Saturday in exchange for a weekday off, to say, keep a doctor’s appointment, she has refused my request. I reminded her that I didn’t think it was too much to ask, especially since I am expected to do two jobs. She simply says the issues are two different things. Needless to say, I am upset and would prefer not to take on another full time job. Can an hourly employee be forced to do a salaried employee’s job in that person’s absence? This will happen anytime this salaried employee has time off. -- Unhappy Substitute
DEAR UNHAPPY: No wonder you are upset and wondering if her actions are legal. Many employees don’t mind going the extra mile if their boss returns the consideration.
But to the question of legality: Generally absent a contract, adult employees can be asked to work any number of hours in a workweek, with few exceptions for certain industries. And the boss can decide what kind of work you do.
She is right about the overtime. As an hourly worker, you have to be paid for all the time you work, doing your job and that of your vacationing co-worker. And you must be paid overtime, when you work more than 40 hours a week.
But the boss missed the point. You are looking at double the workload, and since you agreed to pick up the slack you rightly expected your boss to consider your simple request in the future. It’s not fair that she should be so shortsighted. But it’s legal.
I would try asking her again to accommodate you for a doctor’s appointment. If she refuses, you may have to look elsewhere for a more considerate boss.
Go to bit.ly/LIhours for more on hourly workers under federal labor laws.