When they say flexible schedule..THEY MEAN IT!

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John in Chicago, Illinois

45 months ago

You're right about needing to be flexible as a new hire generally speaking. As someone with low seniority, you will be expected to work the less favorable shifts and will be first in line for mandatory overtime. That's just how it goes, and to be honest how could anyone reasonably expect it to be any other way? It's a right of passage as a new hire, and it's temporary.

On the flip side, as you gain seniority that schedule flexibility works in YOUR favor. After you accumulate a couple of years of service and some new hires have been hired after you, then you're in good shape. You bid on your schedule every couple of months and can choose to move between AM and PM shifts, a variety of start times, different off days, and positions. Not to mention there is limitless trading, picking up, and giving away of shifts. You also get a "freeday" every month, which is basically just a paid day off of your choosing. For the most part you can get any day off you want as long as it's not some sort of a Holiday or something the senior people will be after. Any arbitrary day of the month is pretty easily had. Also, you get 2 weeks vacation to start, 3 weeks after 5 years of service, 4 weeks after 10 years, and 5 weeks after 18 years. Between that, freedays, shift trading, and bidded schedules,.. If you can't manage your life and work schedule, I don't know what would be required for you to be able to.

I've always thought that one of the major perks of this job WAS the schedule flexibility. In the time I've been working at Southwest (even in the early years), I've never not been able to be off on a certain day that I needed to be, even on short notice. If it came down to it, I could get someone to pick up a shift for me for a cash incentive or buddy pass. Or agree to a trade and pick up a shift for them in return. This, of course is after I've struck out on being able to take a freeday or vacation day which is a rare occurrence.

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John in Chicago, Illinois

45 months ago

GottaBeHonest in Oakland, California said:
Pros. yes, you fly for free..but lets be honest..when will you really have time to fly? AFTER the first 6 months you can trade shifts but sometimes you will have to BEG people to take your shifts. I mean, who really wants to work on the weekends?? You also get discounts on hotel rooms, rental cars,cruises, maybe a discount on your cellphone bill.

I fly a LOT. I find that the plentiful vacation time I get per year as well as monthly freedays and creative biding allows me a LOT of opportunities to travel. I hardly ever rely on shift trading to achieve off time, but if I had to it would be simple to do. So far this year alone (3 months) I've been to Florida twice (Panama City Beach, Fort Lauderdale), New Orleans, and at the end of this month I'll be off to Japan. All you have to do is put your freeday next to your off days and you can spend one weekend a month on the beach in Florida or southern California.

It's an awesome job and you have to be patient. Being the new guy and getting the crappy hours and mandatory overtime is a right of passage that everyone has to deal with. This is a really good job and you SHOULD have to sacrifice if you want to become a vested employee. Because let me tell you, once you are and you're up there on the pay scale, this job is FANTASTIC. I would not trade places with a doctor, lawyer, company exec, or anyone else. The quality of life that this job affords cannot be matched.

You might want to have a long talk with your spouse, hire a nanny, and buckle down because the hardships you endure early on are an investment towards a job that you won't be able to match anywhere else. In one year's time, things will be a lot better.. Accumulate some seniority and have some new hires come in under you and you'll be a lot better off.

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Flygirl in Windsor Mill, Maryland

44 months ago

You know John I think I Love you! LOL JK!! Your brutal honesty and wealth of information is beyond helpful and refreshing too! I mean if any of us are lucky enough to get hired by Southwest, we know exactly what to expect thanks to you!! LOL In a world where getting almost any new job includes lots of smoke and mirrors, I cant tell you how much this helps and prepares us!! Thanks Again!!

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John in Chicago, Illinois

44 months ago

Just for the record, there's some sort of anomaly in this thread. There was an original post made by someone else that I was replying to, and now it's just not there.... Didn't want anyone to think I started this thread just to say that stuff. There was someone who was a new hire who was kind of whining about being the low man on the totem poll. Try to keep that context in mind while reading my posts.

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Flygirl in Windsor Mill, Maryland

44 months ago

John in Chicago, Illinois said: Just for the record, there's some sort of anomaly in this thread. There was an original post made by someone else that I was replying to, and now it's just not there.... Didn't want anyone to think I started this thread just to say that stuff. There was someone who was a new hire who was kind of whining about being the low man on the totem poll. Try to keep that context in mind while reading my posts.

It is definitely an anomaly lol, I saw that post John, I dont know what happened to it either, you can still see a little bit of the post as a quote in your response.

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They call me Larry in Orlando, Florida

44 months ago

John in Chicago, Illinois said: Just for the record, there's some sort of anomaly in this thread. There was an original post made by someone else that I was replying to, and now it's just not there.... Didn't want anyone to think I started this thread just to say that stuff. There was someone who was a new hire who was kind of whining about being the low man on the totem poll. Try to keep that context in mind while reading my posts.

Hey John I had a question, How many years before you are a vested employee? Also how much does SW match on 401k and how does your profit sharing work, if there is such a thing? Also if I work my 8 hr shift and I get mando that same day, is there a max number of hrs they can mando me? It would be kinda tiresome to get mando'ed like 8 hrs on top of your 8 hr shift frequently...

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John in Chicago, Illinois

44 months ago

They call me Larry in Orlando, Florida said: Hey John I had a question, How many years before you are a vested employee? Also how much does SW match on 401k and how does your profit sharing work, if there is such a thing? Also if I work my 8 hr shift and I get mando that same day, is there a max number of hrs they can mando me? It would be kinda tiresome to get mando'ed like 8 hrs on top of your 8 hr shift frequently...

You become fully vested after 5 years, but you become 20% vested each year leading up to the 5th year. Southwest matches dollar for dollar what ever you contribute, up to 9.3% of your gross (pretax). The profit sharing is distributed annually and that goes into a retirement account as well, very similar to your 401k account. It's typically been 5-7% of your income for that year, but it varies every year and I'm not really clear on what makes it change to be honest. They can and typically do mando you for a full 8 additional hours. That's why I always tell the new guys if they can help it to get on the night shift when you first start out so you don't get extended for a second shift. There are some protections such as the 10 hour rule, which requires a minimum of 10 hours rest between your shift at night and if you have to be back in the morning. There's also the 13 day rule where you cannot be issued mandatory overtime where you've worked 13 days consecutive unless any of those days were voluntary pickups or overtime. That's about it. The most typical mandatory overtime is to have to come in on your first scheduled day off. As a new guy, get your mind right because you WILL be working some overtime. On the flip side, the money is good.

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Sunshine9 in Austin, Texas

44 months ago

How long do you have to work before you can being trade or give away shifts?

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ramper in Orlando, Florida

44 months ago

I only know about the ramp but I was told that you have to wait 30 days. However speaking for Orlando, my friend tells me that there is so much ot here including mandatory ot that it's pretty hard to give away your shifts,especially weekends,due to shift trades being paid at your normal hourly wage. You pretty much have to work out a deal with a good buddy or be willing to pay $$ in order to get days off.

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ramper in Orlando, Florida

44 months ago

John, What cities are SW biggest as far as flights, employees, etc? In other words I guess your hubs? I know Dallas is your major hub but what are the others? Not including Air Tran since I know Atlanta will be a big one.

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John in Chicago, Illinois

44 months ago

ramper in Orlando, Florida said: John, What cities are SW biggest as far as flights, employees, etc? In other words I guess your hubs? I know Dallas is your major hub but what are the others? Not including Air Tran since I know Atlanta will be a big one.

The biggest cities for Southwest are Chicago (MDW), Las Vegas (LAS), Baltimore (BWI), Phoenix (PHX), Denver (DEN), Houston (HOU), and then Dallas (DAL) in that order.

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airlinebrat in Williamston, Michigan

23 months ago

Hi Jon..I am applying for a part time customer service job with SW how does gull time differ from part time?

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Armyguy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

6 months ago

How do they pay overtime for a customer service agent? Time and a half? Double pay? Thank you.

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2nd career in Colorado

6 months ago

Question in regards to part time hours. Some stations work part timers 6 hour days, 5 days a week. Does any West Coast Station schedule part timers only four days a week? Looking at Las Vegas or anything west.

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Swa11 in North Las Vegas, Nevada

2 months ago

How does a part time person get paid on OT?

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tpin94 in Lockport, Illinois

1 month ago

how does vacation time work with southwest????? (for a new hire)

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John312 in Chicago, Illinois

12 days ago

Vacation works as follows. In your first year, the amount of vacation days you receive for the following calendar year depends on which month you were hired in. Let's just say you were hired on June 19th. You'll get one day per full month for each remaining month that calendar year. For example, July, August, September, October, November, December. So as of the first of the year (following year) you'll have 6 DAT (day at a time) days of vacation.. You'll have no vacation bank while working the initial hire year. Now, the next year in which you've worked the entire 12 months, you'll receive 10 vacation days, and from that day forward. Until the 5th year when you get 15 days, then 20 after 10, and 25 after 18.

Also, you have to remember that "vacation time" is not the only means to have paid off days. In addition to vacation, everyone is also given a "freeday" within each month with the exception of November and December because Thanksgiving and Christmas are the default "freedays" in those months (everyone is scheduled off, and only people who sign up for OT work).

Now as far as how these days are issued, it works as follows,.. Both types of paid off-days are issued by way of a "bid". The month proceeding, they will release these bids whereby you write your off day preferences in order. They filter through it and award the choices by the agents' seniority. For freedays, everyone participates in this because you just automatically get assigned an arbitrary day if you dont. For DAT days, only a low percentage of people might participate, for a couple of reasons. Firstly because not everyone is necessarily looking to use one of their vacation days (dat days) in this particular month. Secondly, it's not required to do in order to still be awarded a DAT day for that month. Sometimes you don't know a whole month in advance what day off you might need. The bid only serves the purpose of giving early dibs on days. ::Continued:

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John312 in Chicago, Illinois

12 days ago

Following the close of the bid, someone can turn in a Dat Request as little as 24 hours in advance and be awarded the day off. There are a set amount of "slots" per day to be allocated for people to use their vacation days. It varies by the size of the station but at MDW it's 7. 7 different people are able to have the same day off on a DAT day. So essentially if a slot remains open and you request it off, you have it. There's no management discretion. It's a contractual requirement that you be awarded the day. So, again, the bid mainly serves the purpose of getting a jump on the first slots. Which works out well if you've got a major plan that you know about in advance. Usually if you put in for it through the bid, you'll get it.

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