15 minute mark on timer (l) ambulances lined up (c) ambulance interior (r)

Devenorr/Shutterstock Tomasz Szymanski/Shutterstock Limpopo/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I am not working for free’: Ambulance worker asked to show up 15 minutes before his shift. He’s not allowed to clock in

‘I’m responsible for getting my ass there and looking and smelling good enough to not offend anyone.’


Phil West


“I am not working for free,” an ambulance worker declared on Reddit, griping that their company wants employees to come in 15 minutes before their shifts start — while not paying them for that extra time.

Reddit user u/TheVillain117 raised these concerns on the subreddit r/antiwork, which is dedicated to “those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, [and] want to get the most out of a work-free life.”

The story starts, “I make [the] heal bus go wee woo.”

“There’s a big push by management encouraging us ambulance jockeys to show up 15 minutes before our shift starts so we can start checking over the trucks and do shift prep until [two] minutes before [the] shift starts, when we’re allowed to clock in,” they explain.

“That way, we’re in service as quick as possible,” the ambulance worker continues. “It never works out that way though because things break or [the] night shift leaves the units a sh*t show, which leads to me catching a talking-to by management for not coming in early. It’s ‘important’ that I be a team player and help out. Nice guilt trip, but my response is always the same.”

“I will not work for free,” the redditor asserts. “Are you going to write me up for refusing to work without pay? If it’s not important enough to pay me, then it’s not important enough to do.”

The ambulance worker goes on to note this “usually ends the conversation.”

They go on to add, “It aggravates me, but not nearly as much as my (usually older) coworkers who not only show up 15 minutes early and voluntarily work, but talk sh*t about and to those of us who don’t. Pressuring the younger staff to be exploited because they don’t know any better is infuriating. No one should have to apologize for valuing their time and labor. Those 10 minutes add up to hundreds of dollars a year for our lowest-paid guys, and even when I explain this to them, they still go along with it. It blows my mind.”

By and large, redditors agree with the ambulance worker.

“I agree, don’t do any work for free. Clock in, then start your duties,” one wrote on the platform. “But it also sounds like you should talk to the night shift and let them know that they are screwing the morning shift over when they shirk their own work,” that person continued. “The old guys are a lost cause. Learn what you can from them, respect them if they deserve it, but don’t let them do your timesheet for you.”

Another remarked to the ambulance worker, “Sure, this happens in most jobs with pre-prep. Almost every business tries to put prep on the employee. I’m responsible for getting my ass there and looking and smelling good enough to not offend anyone. Once I’m there doing what you want, pay me.”

This is hardly the first worker to take such a complaint online. Back in April, The Daily Dot covered a TikToker who recorded a video raising concerns about “wage theft.” And in May, another TikToker acted out a conversation between a boss and an employee in which the boss tries to convince the worker to come in 15 minutes early.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the ambulance worker via Reddit DM.

The Daily Dot