Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #31
01182020Sat
Last updateSun, 19 Jan 2020 11am

My 17-year-old daughter enjoyed her summer job and wants to continue working part-time while she’s in school so she can save for university, but I’m worried that it’s going to affect her school work. Should I be concerned?

 

Dear Worried:

Laptops and loose-leaf paper are on sale everywhere I look, which means it must be back-to-school season. For teens, it’s a time filled with the excitement of new clothes and old friends balanced by a fear of the unknown social and academic challenges that lie ahead.

 

I don’t have to tell you how parents feel, but I can tell you that you are not alone in your concern.

 

With nearly two-thirds of Canadian students working during their last year of high school, millions of parents and educators are asking themselves the same question [Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey].

 

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there on how part-time work affects grades. Most studies focus on graduation rates.

 

I am guessing that with your daughter saving for university, you’re worried more about her grades than about her actually graduating.

 

But there seems to be some valuable lessons to be learned from the graduation-rate studies.

 

Research indicates that most students can work up to 20 hours a week and still succeed in school. Many experts recommend around 15 hours per week or less.

 

According to the Youth in Transition survey, students who worked 11-20 hours per week had the same drop-out rate as those who did not work at all. Students who worked 1-10 hours per week had the lowest drop-out rate. The drop-out rate increased above 20 hours per week and tripled when students worked more than 30 hours per week.

 

Many experts believe that part-time work offers benefits to the student beyond extra pocket money. They learn time-management skills, money-management skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills.

 

Working also provides valuable work experience and may make the transition from school to full-time work a little smoother.

 

The key issue seems to be the number of hours a student works. Exceeding 15-20 hours a week puts her academic achievement at risk.

 

Know what your teen is capable of handling when it comes to managing school and work and negotiate what you think is an appropriate number of weekly work hours.

 

Ensure that your daughter’s employer agrees to the limit you and your daughter have set and understands that school comes first.

 

Your daughter can help her employer by giving lots of notice about times when she might not be able to work as much (e.g., during exams) and times when she can work more hours (e.g., during Christmas break).

 

One last thought, this may be a good time for your daughter look for a job that will provide her with practical experience in a career or field that she’s most interested in.

 

Working as a cashier or waitress might pay a little more, but if she’s interested in veterinary medicine for example, she might want to look for a part-time job at a clinic.

 

Working in the field she is interested in will provide her with valuable related experience and contacts that might help her get her first job out of university. The experience will also give her a chance to “test drive” the career before she chooses her major.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.

 

 


I have been applying for every job I see advertised for the past three months, but I haven’t had much luck. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Working Wise:

I have been applying for every job I see advertised for the past three months, but I haven’t had much luck. What am I doing wrong? Signed Jilted Job Seeker

 

Dear Jilted:

 

I am sorry to hear that your job search is not going as smoothly as you would like. It sounds like you are finding enough jobs to apply for—you are just not getting interviews. I am wondering if your resumé might be what is holding you back.

 

Employers use your resumé to decide if they are interested in you—is your resumé representing you as well as it should?

 

I attended an employer panel discussion of what employers want in resumés last year. The panel was made up of three employers from medium and large companies that see hundreds of resumés every week.

 

Here’s what the employers had to say:

  • Many people still don’t have resumés—get one.
  • Many people have poor resumes—improve your resumé.
  • Always put your best foot forward—don’t assume employers will accept a sloppy resumé just because you’re applying for an entry-level job.
  • Resumés should be typed and two pages or less in length.
  • Don’t scratch-out errors—update and reprint your resumé.
  • Use your legal name—not your nickname.
  • Target you resumé to the job you’re applying for—emphasize your most relevant training, skills and experience.
  • Include brief highlights of your current/previous positions and key skills that are applicable to the job you are applying for.
  • Ensure your resumé is free of errors—they can’t call you for an interview if you give them the wrong phone number.
  • Be sure your e-mail address is professional sounding: late4work@freemail.com does not inspire confidence.
  • Include an objective at the top of your resumé to help the employer understand where you see yourself fitting into the organization.
  • Don’t e-mail your resumé to 15 employers all in the same e-mail—employers will be able to see that you are broadcasting your resumé to everyone and that you’re not really interested in working for them specifically.
  • Be prepared for the call back for an interview—try to be flexible and meet the employer when they want to meet.
  • Include how long you worked at each employer to the month—employers are wary of job hoppers, because training and orienting staff is expensive. If you have jumped around a lot in the past, you might want to explain why in your cover letter.
  • Retail and restaurant employers receive hundreds of resumés a week. Stand out from the crowd by dressing up and visiting the business in person. Ask to speak to the supervisor or manager and hand them your resumé in person.
  • Retail and food-service businesses are open long hours and weekends. The fastest way to get an employer’s attention in these kinds of industries is to include in your cover letter or resumé: “Available for all shifts, able to start work quickly / immediately”.

 

For help writing or improving your resumé, check out the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at http://alis.alberta.ca and put the free resumé tip sheets and online resumé review service to work for you.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.

 

Can I deduct cash shortages from employee paycheques? The staff at my store are cashiers. They count their floats before they start work and at the end of their shifts. Since they are responsible for the money, can I recover the cash “lost” during their s

 

Dear Working Wise:

 

Can I deduct cash shortages from employee paycheques? The staff at my store are cashiers. They count their floats before they start work and at the end of their shifts. Since they are responsible for the money, can I recover the cash “lost” during their shifts? Signed, Missing Cash

 

Dear Missing Cash:

 

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code allows certain deductions to be made from employee earnings: Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Alberta Health Care premiums, as well as deductions resulting from a court judgment or order.

 

If you want to make other deductions from your employee’s pay, you must get written permission from the employee. Examples could include company pension plans, dental plans, personal charges to company credit cards, and so on. Usually these deductions are discussed and permissions are provided before the employee starts their job.

 

There are some deductions that are not allowed even with written authorization from the employee.

 

Employers can not take deductions for faulty workmanship. Faulty workmanship can include things like accidental damage to an employer’s equipment, a “walkout” in a bar, a gas station “pump & dash”, broken dishes in a restaurant or mistakes in production. 

 

Alberta Employment Standards also prohibits employers from taking deductions from an employee’s earnings for cash shortages or lost property if any individual other than the employee had access to the cash or property.

 

This could include customers, other employees, accounting staff, supervisors or managers (including you). It may be difficult to find a time when only one person has exclusive access to cash or property.

 

The only way you can deduct cash shortages from an employee’s pay is if:

·         You can show that they were the only person with access to the cash; and

·         The employee gives you written authorization prior to the deduction.

 

Alberta Employment & Immigration has just released a new easy-to-use Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers to help employers understand their rights and obligations under Employment Standards (ES) legislation. The tool kit is available at

http://employment.alberta.ca/SFW/es-toolkit.html.

 

Cash shortages could indicate some other issues that might require further investigation.

 

Your staff may need more cash-handling training and experience or they might be making mistakes because they are too busy. Talk to your staff about the reasons for cash shortages. You may need to step in a take a more active role in ensuring your staff have the proper skills.

 

You could also be experiencing theft in your workplace. Employee theft accounts for around one-third of all retail theft in Canada.   

 

Most employees are honest, though, and deserve your trust. Less than three per cent of employees were caught stealing in 2010 according to the 23rd Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International. The survey included 23 major U.S. retailers employing a total of more than 2.8 million staff.

 

Talk to your employees and establish a zero-tolerance policy to theft. You might want to monitor things more closely. Perform reference checks before you hire. Ask your senior employees keep an eye out for problems. Install surveillance cameras. If the losses are linked to a specific employee, you might want to involve the police.

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration. This column is provided for general information.


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