• Transcript
  • Work Table

Transcript 1: Introduction

Dave Volek

Welcome to DVBE’s Shift Schedule. This online business English activity has you listening to a common business activity. Two assistant store managers, Juanita and Bill, are building next week’s schedule for the store cashiers.

Assistant

Juanita and Bill have 16 cashiers to schedule into 353 cashier hours. When building the schedule, they have several considerations when placing employees into the shifts.

Dave Volek

You can download this activity’s worksheet from the website. It contains the profiles of the 16 cashiers and the cashier schedule form. As you listen to Bill and Juanita, you can fill in the worksheet to show how they have built the schedule.

Special Note: Since the recording of this dialogue, DVBE has changed the data entry from a worksheet to an interactive online program. There are no worksheets to download.

Assistant

When you are finished each section, check your answers to see how well you have listened to their conversation. Note that Bill and Juanita’s way is one of several good ways this schedule can be built. There are other possibilities.

Dave Volek

As you are listening to this particular dialogue, you might want to take notes instead of going to the tranTranscript to get the exact instructions. Note-taking is still good business English practice.

Assistant

Employees are classified as full-time or part-time. Each full-time employee must be given at least 32 hours of work each week. To be full-time, employees must give management a lot of flexibility to schedule their work shifts. However, they are allowed to set a time slot or two where they cannot be scheduled. This is called a restriction.

Dave Volek

Part-time employees have serious obligations that limit when they can work at the grocery store, such as school, another job, or a certain family situation. When part-timers are hired, they tell management when they can come to work, and management shall not schedule them outside those hours. The hours and days when part-time employees can work are known as the part-time employee’s availability.

Management is not obligated to give part-timers a minimum number of hours.

Assistant

The minimum shift for a full-time employee is four hours and for part-time employees three hours. The store cannot set its shifts for less even if it means the store has too many cashiers at certain times. However, the store has the right to create its shift lengths as it sees appropriate. Employees cannot refuse any shift because the shift is too long or too short unless a shift length has been stated in a restriction or availability.

Dave Volek

If an employee works more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, the store must pay the overtime wage, which is one-and-a-half times the regular wage. To keep costs low, the schedule should have as little overtime as possible.

Assistant

Head cashiers are the supervisors of the cashier team. They had worked as store cashiers, and were promoted because of their dependability, people skills, and trustworthiness.

The store is open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The head cashiers come in an hour earlier to prepare the cash float for the tills and stay an hour later to do the cashouts.

Dave Volek

Although the head cashier is a supervisory position, he or she must open and handle a till if there are lots of customers waiting to buy groceries. In this way, the head cashier picks up the slack if the store gets busier than usual. If customers do not have to wait long, they are happier customers.

Assistant

A head cashier can also work as a regular cashier—without any supervisory responsibilities. But the store must still pay the head cashier’s wage. So it is not a good idea to schedule two head cashiers at the same time. Full-time head cashiers are paid $22 per hour. Overtime work is paid time-and-a-half, so the overtime rate for a head cashier is $33 per hour. Part-time head cashiers are paid $20 per hour.

Dave Volek

After the head cashiers have been slotted into the schedule, Bill and Juanita will start placing the regular cashiers. They have a bit of a balancing act between the full-time and part-time employees. Part-timers are paid $14 an hour, which is $2 less than the full-timers. So it makes sense to use part-timers instead of full-timers to save the store some money.

Remember that full-timers must get at least 32 hours a week. To keep costs down, Bill & Juanita should not give them more than that 32 hours. Definitely they should not give them more than 40 hours because that’s when the overtime kicks in.

Assistant

Trainees have taken the cashier training, but need to spend a little more time on the tills to become reasonably competent. Because they still need to be watched closely, trainees should not be given a shift on 10% Tuesday, when the store offers a 10% discount on all purchases. On that day, the store gets many customers and having trainees on the tills creates long lineups. Trainees should also not be given a shift when they are working alone with the head cashier.

Trainees are paid $11 an hour. The store could save a little money by using trainees instead of regular cashiers. But as the trainees gain experience, they become regular cashiers and are then paid the higher wage. So, in the long term, the store does not save that much money by using trainees.

Trainees are considered as part-timers, so the store is not obligated to give them a minimum number of hours per week.

Dave Volek

From the previous week’s history, the store management determines the staffing levels at the various times for each day of the week. In essence, management builds the blank shift schedule which you have downloaded, printed, and will soon fill in. Bill and Juanita’s task is to put the employees into that blank shift schedule, determining who works when.

Special Note: Since the recording of this dialogue, DVBE has changed the data entry from a worksheet to an interactive online program. There are no worksheets to download.

Assistant

If the store is working short-handed for a half hour, it is OK to let that half hour go unfilled. However, management does not want to be short-handed for more than a half hour. If there is a time slot one hour or greater, management wants that slot filled—even if this means paying a little overtime or working with a few too many people.

Dave Volek

Fill the worksheet in as best as you can as you listen to Bill & Juanita’s business conversation. Then check your answers. You can also follow the transcript if you find the conversation a little too difficult.

Go to Head Cashiers
There is no work table for the introduction.

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