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starlinestables 09-10-2010 02:05 PM

Barn Employees
*** I posted this in a stable management forum but its slow moving. I also tried to post this in a small business forum and its down.. so yall are my last hope! lol

About my facility: 6 stalls fed twice daily and 18 pasture horses fed once a day with feed bags.

I've had a girl that has worked for me a year September 1, 2010. She works 75-80 hours a month at $8.50 an hour. She cleans stalls and re-beds if needed, water, hay, turn in or out, blanketing, basic wound care if needed, she may help with farrier or vet. I've also had her lunge the occasional horse. She was considered a contract employee and basically at will. She could work as little or as much as she wanted to as long as a schedule was set a week ahead of time. As we went along we agreed upon a more regimented budget. She worked 75 hours a month with Sunday, Monday off and she had every other Saturday off too.

For majority of the year, she showed up when she wanted to. Because I lived on site, my husband fed and turned out first thing every morning so I told her as long as chores were done before it was time to feed in the evening it didn't matter when she showed up. She also boards her horse at my facility and I deduct this from her check.

Now that I live 20 minutes away from the barn and I need her at the barn at 8am, 5 days a week. I agreed to give her a pay raise. I offered her a salary arrangement that I would pay her for 80 hours a month at $10 an hour for 5 days a week. I also offered her 4 private lessons a month, a fixed board rate, 13 paid days off to be accrued at an hour a week.

What is your opinion on this arrangement? Is it generous or stingy?

When I offered her this contract the second week of August, she said she would rather have one Saturday off a month, and 6 pto days to be accrued at 1/2 an hour a week (A possible 18 paid days off a year) She had a few other minor changes which I requested in email to run by my husband for his thoughts. During this meeting we said we would start this arrangement September 1st.

The first week of September I paid her $8.50hr for the hours she worked in August. She was upset that I didn't pay her the salaried amount ($450 after board). I explained to her that's not what I meant by starting in September and that I didn't understand why she would think that when
#1 thats not how it works in the real world anyway,
#2 she was absent for a week but her husband filled in for her but didn't feed pasture horses because he was afraid so I had to do it all week,
#3 We didn't even discuss this arrangement till the middle of the month (we work off a monthly budget) and
#4 she didn't send me an email with her proposed changes till September 7!

You be the judge.. Should I pay her the extra $150 because she misunderstood? Or kindly explain to her that wasn't our arrangement and potentially lose an employee?

Jake and Dai 09-10-2010 02:49 PM

Ah...had to rewrite this because I didn't read this correctly.

Is this a signed contract she will be signing? Then to me, the effective date should be stated in the contract or referenced as the day the contract is signed once the changes have been made.

However, it sounds like the changes she asked for were not related to the $10/hour but rather some of the other points. So now I understand how she might think she would be getting the $10/hr starting when you first discussed it.

But let me ask a question...when did she start coming in at 8.00 am - 5 days per week? I would use that as the starting point for paying the increased wage.

starlinestables 09-10-2010 03:05 PM

She's been coming in a 8 am since the beginning of the summer because thats when we switched to night turn out.. I told her she could do it either at 8 am or at 6:30 pm. She picked that schedule on most days. She also has had every other Saturday off.

The reason for the pay increase was to #1 say thanks for your hard work but also #2 because she'll no longer have a choice.. If she wants to be employed by me then she has to be there at 8 am (even though I did it at 7.. this is me being nice) because once we go back to day turn out this weekend there has to be someone there to feed in the am.

starlinestables 09-10-2010 03:09 PM

I pay her once a month.The raise was supposed to start on her 1 year anniversary. So if I pay her the $450 this month, that means she worked only 11 months at $8.50 an hour, not 12.

Speed Racer 09-10-2010 03:19 PM

So she's paid at the beginning of the month for her previous month's work? Then you're correct.

She's looking at it as if the raise was supposed to start as soon as she got paid in September, not when she got paid FOR September.

I don't understand why that's a hard concept for her to grasp. If she knows she gets paid for the previous month at the first of every new month, she should understand that the new rate wouldn't go into effect until her work for September starts.

However, are you willing to watch her walk away from this job over $150.00? It sounds to me like she's pretty responsible, and didn't have a problem agreeing to your new terms that her arrival time was non-negotiable.

Jake and Dai 09-10-2010 03:20 PM I think I understand.

Forgive me if I missed it but I'm not sure if she clearly understood when the raise was supposed to start. I didn't quite get it in the first post but in this last I do.

So, do you think if you hold gently firm and explain that you had her wages budgeted to begin Sept 1st she will back down and agree? If I were her, what you are saying sounds completely reasonable to me and I would agree to it. Actually I would have killed for a job like that back in my younger years!

I would base my decision on how valuable an employee she is. Would it be worth $150 to you to have to advertise for a new person? Train that new person in your ways of working, establish trust etc? I'm not sure what the 'talent' is in your area for this kind of work.

In summary, I would hold firm at first, but if she is worth paying the extra $150...I would actually propose splitting the difference with her.

starlinestables 09-10-2010 09:13 PM

Speed Racer you are correct. She is paid no later than the 5th for the previous months work. Like maybe 2 boarders pay their board on time on the first so I say the 5th to wait for board checks to come rolling in. :o)

LOL thats the hard part. Is she worth the $150? It depends on what day you ask me on. She is high-maintenance and can be a pain in the butt. Some of the things that come out of her mouth are things no one should say to their boss.

There's a lot of great things about her but there are some bad things too.. stuff I don't want to say here on an open forum.. Not that I havn't said them to her face but I don't want to necessarily under-cut her to other boarders.

So what about the first part? Are the benefits reasonable? Has anyone here held a part time job for a year? What kind of benefits did you receive?

VelvetsAB 09-10-2010 10:18 PM

She shouldnt be getting the extra because she hasnt worked for it yet. Once Oct 5th comes around, she can get the extra $150. If the contract wasn't signed until the 7th, technically you could pay her the previous wage until that day....

I work a full time job and only get 120 hours vacation time (shift work so 10 days @ 12 hours each) so for a part timers, 6 days seems reasonable. She is lucky to get PAID days off IMO. PLUS she is getting 4 private lessons ($40ish a half hour here depending on the barn/trainer). She is a lucky girl to get paid days off at a part time barn job, plus get private lessons.... I will come work for you! haha

Delfina 09-10-2010 10:49 PM

I have a part-time job (I work 39.9999 hours per week) and I've had the job for 5 years now. As far as benefits.... uh, I get a couple holidays off per year (usually 3) and paid time plus 1/2 for about 2-3 more. Any time off for any reason is unpaid and only granted if I get another employee to work for me. No vacation or paid time off whatsoever.

I wish I had the benefits you are offering! Not to mention that a cranky horse is much nicer than a ticked off member of the general public which is what I get to deal with.

starlinestables 09-11-2010 02:00 PM

I thought 13 paid days off a year, 4 private hour long lessons a month, a locked in board rate with her special food included, and getting paid for 20 hours a week even if she works 15 was pretty generous.

I try to treat her like I would've liked my bosses to treat me. I got her horse a new blanket last christmas... got her a nice fleece jacket with my logo and her name on it for her 1 year anniversary. When i did her job 10 years ago, I cleaned 18 stalls and 3 paddocks, fed/water, loaded and unloaded hay, polished carriages and tack.. groomed and wash/put up tails ect ect for $5 an hour 6 days a week! I worked there for a year before I got a $.50 raise and the only gift I ever got was a name plate for my saddle. lol

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