Hourly staff pay policy question for parks

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 8:52 PM

I am watching the rain tonight in Pittsburgh and wondered how parks handle rain days with hourly staff.

If a park closes early for rain, does the staff get a hit on the pay for the lost hours?

Are all park policies different?

Just curious here, since I never worked at a park.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:16 PM

At Kennywood, if the park closes early for any reason, employees are only paid for the time they worked on that day. I assume that most parks have the same policy.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 10:41 PM

Yeah, if you send people home, you don't pay them for going home.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:00 PM

Its pretty simple. If the park is closed, you do not get paid. Period. If morning comes, and it is a downpour, any of them with common sense call in first. If the weather is 'sketchy', they have to show up. Any good manager has a cleaning list ready, and some extra duties get done.

If you open, and it is slow, there are always kids ready to go home. If you do not open, the kids clock out, and keep busy with their cell phones, tell last night's bar stories, or whatever other the youth do nowadays. Shoot marbles, domino's, trade coupons, whatever.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:22 PM

When it rains, guests clear out. At Cedar Point, they would send people home early depending on how busy the park was (after inclement weather or whatever else). Each day there were certain rules that applied to who and how many from each ride location got to go home, if attendance allowed, and to be determined by the schedule.

Another words, management would send people home if they weren't needed. These people would have to clock out, therefore they would only get paid for the hours that they had worked.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 7:49 AM

Exactly. We always went down to minimum staffing if it was apparent the rain/storms/wind was going to keep up for a while. It was rare, at my rides at least, to ever close down for the day and send everyone home. It happened once last year on a windy Halloweekends Sunday, but that was mostly because one of the haunted houses was in desperate need of staff, so nobody was sent home because of it.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:44 AM

It kind of seems to me the gist of the OP's question was if it rains and you can't technically do your "normal" job, how long can you stick around getting paid doing something else, especially if it's possible that it'll clear up later and you can resume your normal job?

Would they send people home during a downtime period only to have them come back? (if they could) or is it possible to stay during that downtime and still get paid while maybe not doing a whole lot during that time??

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 12:04 PM

Given how hard it rained in PGH yesterday, they might have been getting paid for building an(other) ark.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 7:36 PM

I believe that management made an educated guess. Park Ops had access to the internets, and could tell if bad weather was going to stick around or not. They also looked at how many people were leaving.

So they put all the info that they had available to them and determined if they should or should not send people home. If they decided to keep employees from leaving, they may or may not send them to clean something, or sweep something, or whatever they could find for them to do.

I guess you could say that Cedar Point just played it by ear. Park management was very aware of wasted wages on dead weight.

Once someone was sent home, they were rarely called to return back to work. In '06, my crew was sent home and on call, after flooding led to the Paddlewheel Excursions lagoon to have very high water. The entire crew went to the mall, out to eat, and then bowling for 4 or 5 hours until we received a call as to whether we had to return or not. I can't remember if we had to reopen the ride or not after the call.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:04 PM

Yes, I guess toy Jeff's point it was kind of a silly question on my part. I was thinking this from a few college jobs I had. I did landscaping for them as a student worker. Their full time staff did not have to work outside in the rain or a temp over (I believe 90 degrees). They however still got paid. This however was a Union deal though. Guess who got to do the work though, yes the minimum wage student helper. I guess the parks are smart enough to keep that out of the contract...

Last edited by Bill2, Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:32 PM
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Friday, June 19, 2009 2:48 PM

There is one park where staff get paid their full shift, even if the park close early: La Ronde.

How it works is that at a certain point in the season (when fireworks start, basically, so mid june typically), the park gets its full schedule until labor day and the park staff is divided in crew A and B. When crew A work, B is off and the schedule is rather complicated! On the first week, A will work monday-tuesday, off wednesday and thursday and work from friday to sunday. On the second week, crew A is off monday-tuesday, work wednesday-thursday and off friday-sunday. Employees do 13 hours shift when they work with 2-3 breaks, depending on where you work.

Where it get tough for the park, is that once the crews get their full 13 hours shifts, they are GUARANTEED the hours, unless they voluntary demand to leave at the beginning of the shift. Even if the park closed 5 hours early due to being deserted with 50 people in the park on a rainy day, the staff is sent home and got their 13 hours paid! It happened once when I worked there and I collected 10 hours at home.

Last year, when the new collective agreement was signed, Six Flags finally got the union to agree to allowing them 3 or 5 days in the year where the employees can be sent home and not collect the full shift. In exchange for that, Six Flags has to keep the park open longer on fireworks and very heavy days, paying employees overtime. This is to "compensate" the loss of revenue from the early departures.

In case you're wondering how the employees got such a clause in their collective agreement, you have to go back to the previous owner of the park: the city of Montreal. They were (and still are) represented by the rather intimidating blue collar and white collars unions of the city workers. The kind of union that destroyed city hall in the past during a work conflict and that terrorise non unionised management.

Last edited by Absimilliard, Friday, June 19, 2009 2:52 PM
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Friday, June 19, 2009 8:05 PM

I do not want to get this into one of those threads about union vs. non-union, but I will add another 3 cents to my 2 previous 2 to make a nickel.

I agree that these types of happenings up there are failure in the free work environment. I understand the early need of unions in the past. Labor laws were almost non-existent back then. They needed some protection from real bad work environments and compensation. Hell those crazy bast@rds that catch crabs do not even have one. If they did, the normal Joe would never be able to eat one. They are also willing to take the risk and do, without real complaint.

I have had my end of bad experiences with unions. My first IT job, I got paid almost half of what the elevator operators made. They were in a engineering union of some sorts. They had some other ridiculous rules in place, such as they could file a compliant against the company if someone on the staff that was not in the union pressed a button on the elevator. Total crap... I also love the ones that our tech staff is not permitted to plug a ethernet cable in for a few jobs. We need a certified union electrician for those in a few cities.

I could go on and on....

Last edited by Bill2, Friday, June 19, 2009 8:16 PM
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Friday, June 19, 2009 9:19 PM

SFOG had a rain pay back in '95. If park shut down for weather staff were paid, it's been awhile, but I think it was 2 additional hours after they signed out.

WDW also had something that the union negotiated. They will never shut for rain but if there was like a hurricane or something and the parks didn't open staff were paid for their scheduled shift. This was back in early 90s so not sure if policy has changed.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009 3:29 PM

When I worked at CP (in '05), I worked group uitilty (the garbage guys you see arounf the park), we worked our FULL shift no matter what. It was a curse of keeping the park clean.

I'm not sure about OTHER departments, such a rides or games, but I belive they had to stick around the park.

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