Ask Shaye: Payment for a cancelled shift
I am a casual employee and I pick up shifts in the specific units/wards I want to work in. The other week I arrived at the ED for my shift, only to be informed that I was being sent to the medical ward. I refused this and was sent home by the NUM. Am I entitled to payment because my employer cancelled my shift?
Unfortunately you will not be entitled to payment. A shift is a span of hours during which work is performed, it is not a span of hours during which work is performed in a particular deployment. When you accept a shift you’re agreeing to work from a specified time to a specified time, so if your employer decides to move this shift to another ward that shift is still offered – it’s just in a different clinical setting.
Therefore by declining to perform your shift in a different ward you – not your employer – are cancelling your shift as that shift continues to be offered. As a casual you certainly have the right to cancel shifts at short notice, but keep in mind that if you do so regularly then your employer may eventually cease to offer you shifts. Of course, any deployment must be within your scope of practice and if you are asked to work outside your scope of practice you should raise this with your manager immediately.