Big 4 Bank Call Centre Making Casual Staff Work Longer Hours Without Paying Them

So a friend of mines recently got a casual full time position with one of the big 4 bank as a call center operator for their cards department in south bank.
she told me that they must be at their desks 15 mins prior (which is not paid for) to their actual starting time to make sure they get all the required software running so they can start taking calls as soon as their shifts starts.
example : if your shift starts at 830am, you have to be at your desk at 815am and if you are not , it is considered that you are late.(this 15mins is not paid for)

also if you your shift ends at 430 pm and you are still on a call (which sometimes can last up to 1 hour or more) you have to stay back and this also is not paid for.

same for tea break(15mins) if you on a call and miss it, for whatever reason you are told that you can only take 10mins instead of 15mins and every single minute you are late is accounted for.

lunch breaks timings are also a mess , say lunch is at 1pm and you are on a call, you can only go to lunch after the call which after a 2hour is 3pm .( so you started work at 815am , get a break at 10am for 15mins and then go lunch at 3pm.( i personally think this is cruel)

i think this is very unfair and illegal and this bank is taking a massive advantage on those causal staff and worst, since the staff are causal full-time they cannot argue this situation by risk of losing their jobs.

Any thoughts on how to solve this situation.
i believe that they should be compensated for every single minute they are working since they are casuals and not permanent-salaried fulltimes.



  • +17


    I'm sure this mistreatment is reflected in the way their staff talk to their customers.

    • +1

      The aim of the big 4 banks is to make as much money in the shortest time frame. They don't gove a fig about anything else. It suits me as I don't give a fig about the 'big 4 banks' either and wouldn't trust them further than I could throw them.

  • +16

    Retail is the same. Store opens a certain time but you need to be there earlier to count the register and open up, same for finishing.

      • +60

        Mate the caps lock key is on the left hand side of the keyboard. You might have bumped it by accident.

        • +6

          i did
          apologies :)

          • +6

            @POTATO10: You Potato.

            Username checks out.

    • +2

      When I used to work in retail we got paid the extra 30mins - 1 hour before/after the store opened to accomodate for this..

  • +8

    You are right they should take their lunch break in the middle of the call with their customer and put them on hold while they eat.

      • +13

        I think your Caps Lock key is broken. Or you just like yelling.

    • -9


      • -1

        You are right they should transfer the call to someone else so they can put them on hold while they eat.

        • -1

          Or they could just not eat and make sure they tend to all the happy customers that call the banks everyday, who cares about them anyway rite :(

    • Actually, they should just start eating their lunch at the exact moment they're entitled to take their lunch break. Chomp into their food and speak to the customer with a mouthful. Bonus points for eating a crunchy tortilla or a bag of potato chips.

      Skip to 1:26. :-)

  • +10

    This is standard business operations, I worked all my life in a bank and had to be ready to "go" at the starting time which means getting there earlier and starting up the systems etc. If you're on a call or with a customer then you take you lunch when you can and always finishing what you're doing before you can leave for the day. This does not just apply to casual staff but to full time permanent staff as well. This would be the expected in most industries where you are dealing with the public whether face to face or on the phone.

    • +3

      i understand that , but should you not be compensated for that? or just work for free?

    • Well full time you get salary, not paid by the hour so it is okay. But casual?

    • +9

      Most industries ? I was in Australia's largest hardware store buying some door handles for our new home a few years back. The guy serving me was nice enough and went out back to get the handles i wanted . After 20 minutes i went to the desk and asked where he was and they said he went for lunch. I still laugh about it today.

  • +4

    It is a service industry, and in my direct experience those matters are just part of the job.
    The job is to answer calls, so it seems reasonable to be there ready to answer calls at the start time.
    If a call is in progress, the customer expectation is that the call will be continual until resolved. I would not want to be transferred to someone else, and then probably have to re-explain the purpose of the call, unless the call is being escalated.

    Some people are suited to service industries, some are not.
    Whilst the info that OP has detailed sounds far from ideal, it would be interesting to know how often these events occur.

    • i agree with what you said, but these events occur everyday and if you come lets say 13mins before instead of 15mins before your shift, you have to call and tell them which i find ridiculous.

      • +1

        You seem to know a fair bit about your "friends" work situation??

    • +13

      It's not reasonable because it's illegal.

      • agree :)

      • +1

        Without seeing the full employment agreement that OP's friend signed before commencing the job, and a very detailed list of specific instances where OP's friend believes they have worked outside of that agreement, you cannot immediately state that it is illegal.

        Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

        If it is, there are avenues for OP's friend to pursue the employer.

        • +2

          It is a casual fulltime and no where in the contract does it state these working conditions.
          also i can let go of the 15mins before work thingy, but what about the - working past your finishing time, surely this should be paid for.

          • @POTATO10: Again, without seeing the full employment contract signed by your friend, we are all hypothesising.

            It doesn't sound great (based purely on the limited information provided by you), but without all of the facts…

            • +1

              @GG57: i have seen the contract, that is why i wrote this post, it does not state anything about starting early or staying longer without pay

              • +3

                @POTATO10: I am not disbelieving you.
                But what does the contact actually state (as opposed to what it does not state) in full.
                If your friend is genuine about this apparent mistreatment, they should contact their Trade Union, or the Fair Work Commission, or an employment lawyer.

                We can't.
                We haven't seen the contract.
                We don't know if it is aligned with the work practices your friend is experiencing.

                This forum post will probably get mostly supporting comments, but it won't resolve the apparent situation.

                • +1

                  @GG57: It's irrelevant what the work contract says…

                  If you are required to be at work 15 minutes before your shift starts, then you must be paid for that time - that is the law. How on Earth could you possibly justify your absurd insinuation that setting up a work computer isn't work?

                  • @callum9999: Employees are required to start taking calls at 08:30 sharp. They can't do that if they get to work at 08:30.

          • -3

            @POTATO10: I agree that it's not good work practice, but please, there is no such thing as casual fulltime.
            There is;

            No such thing as a casual full time or casual part time.

            • +3

              @Tony-Abbott: That would be a person expected to attend full time, with no holiday or sick pay on a casual contract.

              The O.P. is describing one.
              If I were in such a position, I would be keeping a diary, and claiming for unoaid hours once I leave.I'd also be worried about the future of the company - tea breaks were introduced by that renowned socialist, Henry Ford, as he'd noticed production starts to fall precipitously after 2 hours of continuous work.
              He also paid his workers over the odds. When the other businesses complained, he pointed out that they were among the group he was relying on to have enough money to buy his cars, something the short-term shysters unexpectedly getting a third shot at the trough would do to remember.

              • +1

                @terrys: Haha, here’s to hoping Henry Ford’s brand of sensible socialism makes a comeback in Australia.

                I have a mate who works for BAE Systems Australia where he got commended for his work ethic after working through breaks and staying at work late. He was transferred to their office in Sweden and was surprised that everyone had breaks and finished on the dot every day. He worked in his usual fashion and after a few weeks his Swedish manager asked if they needed to reduce his workload so that he could complete it within office hours. His manager insisted that he take breaks and finish work at the same time as the other staff.

    • +11

      The job is to answer calls, so it seems reasonable to be there ready to answer calls at the start time.

      It does seem reasonable to be there ready to answer calls at start time, but if there is specific equipment that requires time to set up that's required for the job and is provided by the employer (ie, a computer), it also seems reasonable that it is the responsibility of the employer to have that set up and ready to go at start time. If the employee has to spend time setting that equipment up, that's work, and should be paid for.

  • +15

    The lunch break situation is rubbish but the same with any other job. For example, a nurse does not just say "can your cardiac arrest hold on for a moment, I need my lunch break…"

    I believe, the company should be paying from the time you start work until you have finished. If they stipulate arriving early, then I would expect to be paid for this. Ditto for OT. If the OT is out of my control, then they either need to pay me or provide an alternative solution. I would not be working for free on a regular basis. Perhaps, here and there for 10-15 minutes or if I were salaried then I would. But casual, I clock in and out and am paid for the entire time I work.

    • True for lunch situation and these are my exact thoughts.

    • +11

      i dont think so anyone likes working for free. it defeats the whole working concept :(

      • -3

        It may sound unfair, but that is the nature of entry level support. Your friend is expendable. They may easily replace her someone more motivated, or they could outsource jobs to overseas.

        • +2

          it is not only my friend that is going through this , but the whole team…30 people and now just imagine how many more going through this. i am 100 percent sure fair work australia will not see it your way.

          • @POTATO10: The problem is that FairWork can only force companies to abide by the law when paying employees. They can't actually force companies to keep jobs in Australia instead of outsourcing them, which is what will happen when the costs of having local call centres start outweighing the benefits.

      • +1

        Working for free is relative to your own perspective. If you have a 9-5 mindset and want to get paid for every second then yeah you may be right. That's not how it works in the real world. Most smart people realise that sometimes they need to do certain things for broader future opportunities rather than nitpicking 30mins here and there. Also there's always 'idle' time in any job.. does that mean the person's getting paid for NOTHING? By your definition that would be a yes. So yeah swings and roundabouts mate.

    • +16

      I didn't realise that not being paid for time at work means someone is "not cut out" for the job.

      • +1

        Entry level support are FITD. They are sometimes used to separate the motivated from these that aren't.

      • +1

        Very common for accounting and law firms.

  • +4

    Call the F̶S̶B̶
    lol, I mean the FSU

    • No no, I think Russian intelligence would be very interested in this blatant affront to the socialist ideal!

  • +11

    Join a union before Libs bring back Howard's workchoices

  • OP…think before you rant.

    'Your friend' is working in a service orientated job, service continuity is important, especially in a role such as credit card support.

    Would you like it if you were in the middle of a call and the customer support office told you sorry…Imma transfer you to someone else (so you can explain the whole thing again) coz it's my lunch time? Or you end the call suddenyl as it's knock off time?

    No…those flexible hours come with the territory, if you don't like it, then this role is not for you.

    • not ranting mate, just want to see everyone opinion on the matter,
      still think that no work should be unpaid , especially big 4 banks with no morals and just after your money :(

      • +5

        Your playing victim, your CAPS, your assertion that others have no morals yet yours are fully intact….that's ranting.

      • especially big 4 banks with no morals and just after your money :(

        I mean, flip it around - your 'friend' is just after the company's money too. It's not like they're working there for some kind of higher ideal either.

    • Then you can start your hour of lunch after the call has finished!

  • +3

    Time for a new job then, don't like it, don't stay, it's the nature of that role.

    • true :)

  • +12

    I don't have a designated lunch break, I take it when/if I can.
    Nor do nurses/police officers/etc etc.

    But if they're casual pay/full-time hours, I can bet they're getting paid pretty well for the job they're doing.

    Salary workers likely do some overtime without being 'paid', it's just what's needed for the day.

    Rather than getting shocked at the 'what ifs', how about trying it for a month and seeing if that actually happens? See how late 'your friend' actually does stay at the job, and how the take home pay is at the end of the week.

    Who knows what else the job has to offer as well. The workplace environment could be top notch and friendly and makes up for a bit of overtime.

    In other words, don't jump to being shocked straight away.

    Lemme guess, you or your friend are a millennial?

    • +5

      casual full time without any leave entitlements (sick leave and annual leave) at $28 per hour i would not consider that being paid pretty well.
      i am not shocked , just annoyed at the no pay situation and seeing it as being taken advantage of.
      its being 4 weeks and trust me its not a good environment when you have people crying after being abused on the phone on a daily basis.
      its tough to work for a bank call center i reckon as i have never happily called a bank myself, it is always because there is something wrong and most customers are either angry or upset and take their frustrations on those helpless customer service operators.

      • +7

        i would not consider that being paid pretty well.

        It's a call-centre job @ $55k/year

        They can always look elsewhere, or get qualifications to work a better job. Call centre operations aren't exactly a career.

        • -10

          NOBODY is complaining about the pay here-
          i am complaining of not getting paid- everyone is different and some people are limited to certain skills and circumstances differ.
          so keep your career advise for yourself, thank you very much.

          • +20


            so keep your career advise for yourself, thank you very much.

            You came to an online forum, chasing advice, yet get shitty about receiving advice?

            Yeah well done

            • -3

              @spackbace: i am not getting shitty, you are telling to upskill and get a better job, dont you think she is at this job because she could not get anything else and at this point that is her only option.
              you advice is irrelevant to the topic.
              the main subject here is should you be working 30 - 45 mins a day for free when you are a causal

            • +4

              @spackbace: Nice one Spackbace

          • +7


            NOBODY is complaining about the pay here-

            at $28 per hour i would not consider that being paid pretty well.

            Herp derp.

        • +1

          Excellent metrics while working at the call centre can lead to a career path at the bank.

          • +2

            @811b11e8: Shut up!

            Who wants to get well thought of by their manager enough for them to act as a reference for more lucrative and exciting career opportunities within the bank when you can whine about 15 minutes being taken from your day. Screw the long game.

        • $28/hr casual turns into more like a $44262pa permanent salary once you take into account holidays, sick leave etc. Not exactly the poverty line, but not champagne and caviar territority.

          • @zambuck: I mean, even at $44k per annum… that's good money for working in a call centre.

      • +3

        Chances are if the bank is going to pay for the extra time, they'll just reduce the pay to $25/hr. It may very well work out to the same annual amount, but then staff won't feel short-changed. It's just going to be administratively more burdensome because instead of paying John 5 working days he now has to put in every start/stop time for start of day, lunch, break, end of day. And PITA for the manager who has to keep track of all this and approve timesheets. The $28/hr is likely calculated to include all of this plus any sick or annual leave (incl leave loading) that casual staff miss out on.

        • A sensible answer… drop wages and they would be nine the wiser. The role is above award wages

      • How do you know people are crying in the office every day unless it's you that's working there rather than your "friend"?

    • Thank God someone nailed it. Tired of this snowflake pc culture.

    • If you're leaving early for lunch, that's 100% deliberate. Plus he did it 26 times. And this was a public service worker, so he's not just ripping off his company, but the Japanese taxpayer. Don't really see much wrong with reprimanding him.

  • +5

    Sounds like your friend is one of the "entitled generation" (viz. what's in it for me) who is going to have a long a successful career in front of him/her

    • i hope so :)

    • +3

      I think this is part of the problem. If it was announced that these jobs were going to be outsourced to the Philippines then how much complaining would be about having to work an extra 15 minutes a day? People tend to think about what they can get out of a job and maximise their control. This only works when you’ve built up a crapload of career capital and expertise to be able to change the balance from employer to employee. If you don’t realise you essentially have negative career capital working in a call centre operating in a high wage country that can be outsourced in an industry which only cares about the lowest cost in a world where there are educated people who would be willing to do that same work for a fraction of the cost then it’s going to be a rough ride.

      It doesn’t matter how much whining POTATO10 does this is the reality of being a call centre operator.

    • +3

      Your point

      Ops head. woosh

  • It's simple, if you dont like it find another job.

  • +3

    Get a better job?

    • -4

      oH .. THANK YOU.. did not think of that

      • +2

        Obviously not as she is still at this same shit job she hates

  • +31

    Nobody should be working for free. Maybe I live a sheltered life but everywhere I have ever worked has paid me for the hours I have been there working.
    I have also worked in a call centre and was expected to arrive at work fifteen minutes prior to my scheduled phone shift in order to have the computer ready and any other small admin tasks, but I was paid for it. If I stayed back to finish a call, I was paid for it. If my lunch started late due to a call, it also ended late to ensure I had my full half hour break as required (must have a break of no less than thirty minutes where the shift is longer than five hours).
    Everyone saying that it is an entry level job and if the person doesn’t like it they can leave, wow. If all of the employees continue to put up with not being paid for hours worked, the problem only gets worse. More and more will be expected. It doesn’t matter what people overseas get paid, these workers are in Australia, working under Australian laws.

    • +2

      thank you, finally someone that understands.
      for those saying get another job where that is not the solution ,
      the job is ok but not getting paid is not ok.
      and to people that keeps saying to get another job if you dont like it- is that your approach to any problems that arises in your workplace? or is that how you react when you are being treated unfairly at your workplace or in life? DO YOU JUST QUIT? or go find something else??

      • +2

        Ease up on the capitals there…

        You also are aware that your friend being casual can just as easily be kicked out of the job, and likely there's a bunch of people behind her who would happily do that work?

        Complaining about working conditions and wages are what send the aussie automotive industry down the tubes. Unions pushed for more and more, till the companies just realised they could import for the same cost or less.

        There comes a certain time where you need to appreciate that you do have a job and you're not on centrelink benefits. I know qualified people who struggle to get an interview at the moment, because times are tough.

        All well and good with you white-knighting, but you're a 3rd-party to the situation. Your friend is the one who needs a job to pay the bills and put food on the table. If they start upsetting their Managers, or start hating their job, they'll end up on the dole. Do you want that for them? I doubt it.

        • +5

          Complaining about working conditions and wages are what send the aussie automotive industry down the tubes. Unions pushed for more and more, till the companies just realised they could import for the same cost or less.

          This might make sense if the banks weren't making billions in profits. Every extra minute POTATO10's friend works for nix is just more extracted value free money for the shareholders.

          • +2

            @afoveht: exactly!!!

            • +11

              @POTATO10: Pointless thread which should be deleted by the mods.

              All you want is for people to validate your view and when that doesn’t happen you squealing like Cardinal Pells alterboy.

              Try not be be so ignorant and close minded.

          • +1

            @afoveht: The shareholders are some of the >15m Australians that have money in super.

        • +2

          The automotive industry is a completely different situation.

          The call center's that can be outsourced have already been outsourced. Theres a reason most banks still have huge Australian call center's, and its not because of 15 minutes unpaid working time.

      • Sorry, but I have to pick you up on a comment here:
        "the job is ok…"

        Earlier, you were telling us:
        "…its not a good environment when you have people crying after being abused on the phone on a daily basis.
        its tough to work for a bank call center i reckon as i have never happily called a bank myself, it is always because there is something wrong and most customers are either angry or upset and take their frustrations on those helpless customer service operators…."

        Is your friend happy in the work or not? (apart from the pay)

        Because working somewhere where there is a toxic culture, or highly stressed environment, etc., is not for everyone. In which case your friend really should get another job for their own sake.

    • I guess you could take this view and it would work in certain work situations. Once you move into the higher echelons of white collar professional services then you’ll be either managed out or exit when your career stagnates.

      It all depends what you want in life and how far you your career to go.

    • +3

      Wait to you earn a "salary" (where overtime is unpaid).

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