Started new job, hours changed and I'm not thrilled - What should I do?

Hi everyone,

Hope you're all well.

Could I please get your honest (and unrelenting - if required) opinion on something.

I just recently started a new job (casual job), which was acquired through a job agency (Not Centrelink related)

When the agency ran me through the job and hours I was told that it would be 8am - 4pm which I was happy with.
I started the job a few days later, and within a few hours we were all informed that our hours would be changing to 6:45am - 6pm. I spoke to the agency to see if they would reduce the hours to 6:45am - 4pm or return to 8am - 4pm and I was informed that their client may be willing to consider 6:45am start 5pm finish finish but that's already pushing it. Everyone else employed through this agency at this job don't seem to have an issue with it so I feel I'm the odd one out.

I'm not too thrilled with doing almost 12 hour days as I have mental health related commitments around 6pm every few weeks.
I'm also worried about experiencing clinical burnout again by doing 12 hour days (60 hour weeks) as I went through that years ago and find it very difficult to rebuild energy and stamina to this day.
The job itself is outdoors in the elements.

Overall the job isn't too bad and I would easily continue with an 8am - 4pm or 6:45am - 4pm but I'm not happy with almost 60 hours a week….. While most people would see $$$$ in doing 60 hour weeks I care more about my wellbeing and happiness over $$$$ and feel that I'll eventually resent the job. I'm financially stable at the moment so I don't need to rely on a weekly paycheck to survive; however eventually I will need something.

From what I have been told the almost 60 hour weeks will continue well into 2022, it's not a temporary thing.

I'm on the fence about whether I give a miss and burn a bridge with this employment agency or whether I just soldier on in the hopes that I don't burn myself out again.

What should I do?

Thank you in advance.


  • +39

    Screw that I'd be out be out the door after the first week of 12 hour days.

    They bait and switched you - move on ASAP.

    • +3

      Yeah somewhat agree… I’d probably be wondering about what’s to come in the future if this is how they started out.

      OP if you’re not in a position where you need the job right now, and if you have mental health concerns to worry about (can relate), I would be seriously considering if this is the right job for you.

    • Screw that I'd be out be out the door after the first week of 12 hour days.

      Screw that I'd be out be out the door after the first week of 12 hours.


      • +5

        Wouldn't it be FTFY if it were

        Screw that I'd be out be out the door after the first day of 12 hours.

        • +1

          Is anyone going to point out the fact that he wrote “be out” twice?

          Screw that I'd be out the door after the first day of 12 hours.

          We got there in the in the end.
          Good work team.

  • +11

    Stay at the job and keep applying for other jobs. Take time off to go to the interviews, submit your 1/2 week's notice as soon as you get another job.

    • +4

      It's casual. Just keep declining the hours as if the shoe was on other foot.

  • +3

    Get out, those hours are just as bad as china 996

    • Thanks, I learned something new.
      I thought 996 was just an overpriced sports car

      • Seems like a way to get around paying overtime. If law says workers must be paid overtime for working outside of regular hours, then companies making regular hours 72 hours a week all day long means no one ever actually works outside of their scheduled work hours.

  • Sounds like you want to leave, you just need to fully make the leap

    Just leave, surely there's plenty of work out there without needing to go through an agency?

  • +1


  • The role is paid hourly?

    • Hourly rate, paid weekly (Have yet to receive my first pay)

      • Is this some type of construction industry job?

    • Do you mind flicking pm's on (or sending me a pm).. I wanted to ask you something about your Lego Liebherr

  • +10

    If I was in your situation I would be honest and let them know that you can’t work the hours they want you to work. Let them know that you are happy to stay on and work the hours you signed up for otherwise you will have to leave (you may or may not want to mention mental health reasons or desire for better work life balance). Any employer who doesn’t respect that doesn’t deserve you - you can do better.

    • I had a conversation with the agency today and I was told to speak to the onsite manager but was informed that his expectation is as per the hours I wrote in my post, and when I asked if they had any other jobs (eg. 8am - 4pm, 7am - 3pm, 6am - 2pm etc) I was told no and when I reaffirmed that I wasn't happy doing almost 12 hour days I was asked 'What are you trying to say, you don't want to continue with this job?'

      • +5

        I think that you should speak to the on-site manager. All the agency cares about is replacing you if you aren’t suitable - you are just commission to them. The on-site manager is ever so slightly more likely to care about and appreciate you. If they don’t budge then you need to be prepared to either say yes, I am quitting or yes, I am ok with the additional hours.

      • +1

        Have you got the original hours in writing from the agency?

        Present that, in writing, to all relevant parties. Explain that you did not accept the contact of employment on anything more than an 8-hour day. State your expectations and give evidence.

        If you are terminated (or, as a casual, not given any more shifts), then you can escalate to the relevant state dep't or Fair Work etc for unfair dismissal.

        • Unfortunately the original hours were quoted verbally when we had 1 on 1 meeting about the job, there was no mention of the hours changing. All I have is induction related paperwork that doesn't specify hours, and a screenshot of the day #1 shift hours on the app they use for their shifts.

          • @James D: In that case you're rather out of options…

            You'll only have the option to tell them that you're not available for shifts you don't want, at which point (as a new employee) they'll not bother to keep you and they'll find someone else without any recourse.

          • +2

            @James D: If you don't have paperwork supporting you, you'd unfortunately be out of options. Plus from their perspective they'd want you, or your replacement, to be working as much as possible so likely won't ever take you seriously. They take a heavy cut of the hourly rate they're paid from the client (my last agency job they were taking about 33%), so you working more hours is in their interests. Don't be afraid of burning bridges, just leave if its not for you.

            My little rant:
            I had a somewhat relatable experience myself, where I had signed up for the aforementioned agency job for a start date 3 weeks after my uni exams ended. In the interview (about 3 months prior to starting) I mentioned the start date and my travel plans o/s with mates that I had me coming home a week before the verbally agreed start date. Agency staff agreed, and I took the extra liberty of sending them my itinerary and asking for confirmation that it was fine to go (they confirmed verbally ofc), prior to booking. My only paperwork mentioning dates was along the lines of start date "Summer Casual working period" but was verbally in the middle of December.
            Ended up getting a call in the middle of my exam period, stating that the start date was going to be in the last week in November, during which I was supposed to be overseas. I explained that I seeked confirmation of the start date and had them agree to my travel plans, but they didn't give a rats arse and asked if id be starting then or I'd be out of a job (note the pay was brilliant for an 18 year old). I asked the same person who hired me if they'd compensate for the cost of changing flight tickets given their error, and they flat out denied and said no verbal agreement was made (I talked to everyone else who started with me and they all agreed they were told the same start date I was told, but the agency 'forgot' to factor in the 2 weeks training needed). Ended up coughing up $1000 to change mine and my mates tickets so I would come back on time. Ended up working there for 2 years and inflated my hours every week until I made my $1000 back.

            • @JDMcarfan: I hate people like that
              “I never said that”

        • As a casual, generally they can change hours as necessary. If you limit the hours you can work (even if it's agreed beforehand), they can say that the required shift is until 6pm. If you can't work that, you don't get the shift. If they offer you shifts that you can't work, it's not unfair dismissal (It is a bitch move though)

    • +1

      Let them know that you are happy to stay on and work the hours you signed up for otherwise you will have to leave.

      This is exactly what I would do. The employer is no longer offering the employment conditions you accepted.

  • Jobshare?

  • +3

    Say to them that you can only start at 7:45 at the earliest as you have commitments in the morning and the latest you can work is 4:15 as have other commitments after work. If they are not okay with that then they not roster you on anymore. If they are okay then they will roster you on. Also ask them what the pay rate is for the extra time as it is above the normal 38 hours for a full time employee and if you want to push it about the super.

    This way you have committed to an extra 30 minutes per day, but can still keep your existing commitments.

    BE aware that extra hours above a certain amount will be paid at 1.5, 2 or more per hour and if you work for more than X hours they may be liable for paying breakfast and/or lunch and.or dinner loading. Most dodgy companies will NOT pay overtime at the 1.5 or above rates, so if they do not then do NOT agree to any extra hours.

    Do not resign, but let then not roster you on or fire you as this may/could affect your government payments.

  • +1

    I mean if you can afford to, find something else.

    Otherwise take the 5pm finish while looking for something else. There are other employment agencies

  • +2

    Take the 5pm finish and keep looking for other jobs

    • +1

      Thats what I would do. specially if you need $ or have been out of work for a while.

  • -1

    There are plenty of vacant jobs right now. Just move on to the next one.

    Here comes the Great Resignation. Why millions of employees could quit their jobs post-pandemic
    ABC Radio National /
    By Lisa Leong with Monique Ross and Maria Tickle for This Working Life
    Posted Fri 24 Sep 2021 at 6:00amFriday 24 Sep 2021 at 6:00am, updated Tue 28 Sep 2021 at 11:44am


    The Great Resignation: Almost 40% of Aussies planning to change jobs
    OCTOBER 26, 2021
    The-Great-Resignation working dads
    The Great Resignation is expected to hit Australia as COVID-19 restrictions ease, with almost 40% of workers planning to change jobs in the next 12 months.

    • This has been critiqued by economists as perhaps not being rational in Australia. It happened in the US where they have very low wages and we’re getting more money for staying home on government money. That has ended here. Also USA had high unemployment before the pandemic so more jobseekers than roles available so it became easy for employees to fill positions. That is also unlikely here as we have a shortage of immigrants to fill lower level positions at the moment.

  • +2

    If the job does not fit your criteria, then move on.

  • Are you employed by the agency or by the employer directly?

    Try talking to the employer directly. Otherwise, it is a casual job and I'd be looking elsewhere.

  • +4

    How can it be casual when it’s 60 hours a week? Call fair work Australia about that at least.

    • +2

      I wouldn't say no to casual loading with full time hours

  • +2

    You can refuse to work the additional hours over 38 hours according to Fairwork Australia.

    However may be worth finding another job as I suspect you don't want to work for people like these.

    • +2

      You can but it will end with you out of a job.

      Is that legal? No
      Will they say you no longer have a job because of your unwillingness to do overtime? No

      They will just dump you and say
      - no longer needed
      - no work today

      Welcome to casual/agency work

      • +1

        depends how bad they need people. Considering op doesn't need the job per se, she should just come in and leave at the hours set out by the original job description. if they fire her who gives a shit. Thats what I'd do.

        • The problem with that is generally an agency has multiple people on its books and just picks one to offer the job to.
          When you say no or the employer doesn’t like you, they just move on to the next one.

  • +1

    Don't over think it or stress yourself out more.

    if you went in with good intentions and now it's not suitable because they're as shady as you say, move on. You can quit immediately if it's stressful but otherwise, do the minimum and keep searching.

  • If it’s not for you, find something else and leave.

    In those environments/work cultures you are just a number.

    There is very little point trying to fight it if they have already said they wont budge and you are only casual.
    So don’t stress or overthink it, look for something else and then drop them asap.

    (Don’t forget to do the ozbargain value way of dropping a bad employer while under an agency- rock up for an hour then call the agency and say you hate the job and are leaving = get paid for 4 hours 😂)

    • (Don’t forget to do the ozbargain value way of dropping a bad employer while under an agency- rock up for an hour then call the agency and say you hate the job and are leaving = get paid for 4 hours 😂)

      wait u can do this?

  • +1

    tell them to stick their job up their asses. (profanity) them and their bait and switch bullshit.

  • What's the job?

  • Given there are hundreds of agencies, I’d just refuse and move on. Agencies don’t care about you, they’re just after the commission in finding a resource. It’s different if jobs are hard to come by, or you’re in a financial bind, or you want to make some extra dollars, but it doesn’t sound like this to be the case.

  • Not as described… hand notice in.

  • Try it for a week or so, you might find that being outdoors is good for your mental health.

  • As an unemployed person, I would say suck it up and be grateful for the work, but I have lost all self respect while being unemployed. I'd just be happy for a job.

  • As someone who normally encourages people to stay employed, I actually recommend leaving the job. Working almost 12hr days will leave you too exhausted to find a better job.

  • Absolutely bullshit to pull that on you, I'd file an anonymous complaint with fair work straight away about the agency and employer. There is no way that is "reasonable" overtime. You should have standard hours up to 38 hours a week, anything extra as required. There are a few jobs where it's expected to be long hours but usually it's only for a short period of time (i.e. at worst over 6 months it should still average to 38 hours a week, with a bit extra as needed).

    Also make sure you get paid overtime properly too on your first paycheque, depending on the award you're under you should be getting double time for anything more than a few hours overtime.

    I've worked at a couple of staffing agencies, I'd be surprised if any of the big ones were doing that. The WHS people would raise hell if they found out that was going on, the "client" would have to be big ticket client keeping the lights on to even consider it. Even internally these agencies will have different people doing different things, you may not have burned a bridge just for leaving a completely unreasonable contract. It's unfortunate people put up with it - it's understandable why because they feel like they have no choice. But the only employers who do this are ones where they're desperate for people and can't find enough, then wind up in the situation if they adjust for one person everyone else will demand the same, so they play hardball.

    • Maybe in a white collar world this is the case, but in a blue collar… it’s a very common practice.

      You will have a hard time fighting it and ultimately cause yourself more stress then it’s worth.

      People put up with it in blue collar jobs as casual/agency workers because there is usually literally a que of people waiting that will fill your position if you don’t want it.

      • I wouldn't fight it, impossible as a casual, but reporting it is an easy first step. Then I'd get out.

        It's rare to see such extreme levels of overtime though, as I mentioned I worked in staffing agencies, I did reporting and analytics, including overtime analysis. If there's candidates lining up to work there you don't put people on for 60 hours a week, you put them all on for 38 hours a week to minimise overtime cost. You only use overtime for short bursts.

        White collar you just do unpaid overtime…

        • I understand the reporting but its a casual job offered with no contract.
          If challenged on it the business will just say they asked you to do these additional hours but have no problem on letting you go home after 8 hours.
          Then if you take them up on it, the next day you will get told theres no work today or similar.

          If the op was given a job offer with contracted hours then he would have a case. But as its a agency, they can chop and change as they please and the verbal agreement is worth nothing.

          They can’t make you stay past the 8 hour mark, but it’s widely known in many industries, especially for casual workers, people that don’t play ball don’t work.

          And a 12 hour day is quite common in manufacturing and transport industries.

          I did a 14.5 hour day yesterday.
          while legally i have every right to go home after 8 hours, if i did that it could risk my job as a casual worker.
          They won’t come out and say that directly, but its just the way it works. And many blue collar industries also have this fun pay rate called flat rate… thus no extra overtime costs.

      • wait what are blue and white collars?

        • Blue collar is a term used to refer to people who typically work in jobs that require manual labour, like agriculture, manufacturing, construction or mining

          White collar is generally office work

          • @El cheepo: interesting and here I thought you were comparing people wearing white coloured collar shirts to people who are wearing blue coloured collar shirts

  • Tbh I thought that’s how agencies work? They (screw you over) but giving people some unrealistic expectation as they are commission based. I got lied to by an agency where my pay was a bit different to what the company was paying me - I didn’t get the contract until I started week 1.

    I guess in your case depends if the pay is good (reasonable enough to cover those hours), whether you have been hunting for a while and whether this is “just a job” or something you really wanted etc.

  • Move on. Employees have the power right now. You have zero obligation to the company or the recruitment agency as a casual employee. There will be better hours and conditions elsewhere as businesses are struggling for staff.

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