Workaway International

FAQ


What happens once I am accepted?

If accepted, you will be required to fulfill the duties of the position stated in your offer letter. It is your responsibility to understand the duties of that position before accepting it; transfers to other positions will not be granted. You may also be required to work overtime hours in addition to your weekly schedule. Overtime, however is, not guaranteed. You will be expected to uphold all the standards put in place by management/membership and to abide by the rules and regulations of the Employer.

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What is “at will” employment?

Your employment relationship with the Employer is “at will” – it is not for a specific or definite term and it may be terminated by you or the Employer at any time with or without cause or notice.

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What and when will I be paid?

You are guaranteed a total of 80 hours over a two-week period and most of the employers have a bi-weekly pay structure although there are some employers that process payroll weekly. You may not be eligible for a full 40 hours on your first and last pay check. This is dependent on your arrival or departure dates and pay period start and end dates. Please note that pay checks are paid a week in arrears.

Overtime is paid at time and a half. You will use a “clock-in”, “clock-out” system which will record the precise hours that you have worked. It is imperative that you understand and follow “clock-in” / “clock-out” policies and procedures. Should you accept a manager’s offer to leave work (“clock-out”) earlier than scheduled you may be forfeiting your guarantee for that particular week – please be sure to check this with your manager before clocking out.

Unfortunately, you will not be paid if you are sick. You may also not be paid in the event that your employer closes due to hurricane damage or other “acts of God”. It is your responsibility to keep track of the exact hours (“clock-in” and “clock-out” times) worked every day.

As is true of most other employees in the USA, you will be required to remit USA social security tax, medicare tax, federal income tax and where applicable, state and/or local income tax. You will be able to claim back the federal, state and local income tax at the end of the season. These taxes will be automatically deducted from each paycheck.

BELOW PLEASE FIND EXAMPLES OF THE WAGE YOU CAN EXPECT TO EARN ON A BI-WEEKLY CYCLE (EXCLUDING OVERTIME)

*Refundable security deposit refunded at the end of the season.
*Federal tax refundable

EMPLOYEE WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A WAGE REVIEW AFTER COMPLETING THREE WEEKS OF EMPLOYMENT . DEPENDING ON THE EMPLOYEE’S PERFOMANCE REVIEW, HE/SHE COULD RECEIVE AN INCREASE IN THE HOURLY WAGE. IN ADDITION TO THE HOURLY WAGE INCREASE, THE EMPLOYEE COULD ALSO BE ELIGIBLE FOR DISCRETIONARY BONUSES.

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How many hours do I work?

You will work a minimum of 40 hours over 1 week or 80 hours over 2 weeks and will be paid weekly or bi-weekly.

You may be asked to work overtime, however this is not guaranteed. Overtime (over 40 hours worked in one pay week) is paid at time and a half. Please note that you may work 50 hours in the first week and 30 hours in the following week to make up the 80 hours guarantee. The 10 hours over the 40 hours worked in the first week will be regarded as overtime which is paid at time and a half.

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May I accept tips?

Due to the Employers policies, cash tips are prohibited and must politely be declined. Any employees accepting cash tips will be immediately terminated.

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What happens if I am late?

Tardiness and absenteeism are unacceptable and subject to the Employer’s disciplinary action procedures. Chronic tardiness or absenteeism is considered grounds for termination.

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Who can I talk to if I have a problem at work?

The first point of contact if a problem should arise at work is the Human Resources Department. Contact your HR manager and let them know what the problem is and they will be able to assist you.

You may also contact a member of the Workaway International team at 561-625-2501 or your Housing Manager.

Cultural differences and misunderstandings often result in unhappiness in the work place and/or conflict. It is very important that all participants are open minded and positive in overcoming challenges.

If there are any issues that seem “overwhelming” please contact Workaway International or your Housing Manager who will advise you of the correct course of action.

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How will I get to work?

If you reside at the appointed housing company’s accommodation either bus or van transportation will be provided to and from work.

A bus/van schedule of pick up and departure times will be distributed upon your arrival. The timetable is designed to accommodate a variety of schedules, please be prepared to wait patiently for the bus/van.

It is your responsibility to arrive at work BEFORE your start time. If you miss the bus/van you will be expected to call a taxi immediately to get to work at your own expense. Tardiness and absenteeism are unacceptable and subject to the Employer’s disciplinary action procedures and are considered grounds for termination.

Public transportation is also available.

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What do I do if I miss the bus to work?

Contact your line manager (or shift leader) immediately to make him/her aware of the situation. It is your responsibility to arrange an alternative means of transportation to work.

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Do I get training on the job?

Most employers prefer employees to have previous experience and a desire to work in the hospitality industry. They do, however, provide on the job training, with some employers preferring to train their employees extensively on arrival.

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What if I make a mistake on the job?

Nobody is perfect. Chances are that no matter how conscientious you may be, you may eventually make a mistake.

The employer is in the member-pleasing business every second of every day. If you are not assisting the members directly, then you are probably assisting someone who is, and the primary focus is always their satisfaction. If this sentiment constantly occupies your thoughts and actions, then you will be upholding the standards of the employer. If it does not, then you will fall short of the employer’s expectations.

When rules are broken, policies disregarded or avoidable mistakes made, then there are unfortunate consequences. Your manager may give you a verbal warning by simply speaking to you about your performance or he/she may issue you a written warning, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the situation. Three warnings in any combination will result in suspension and/or termination. Keep in mind that this process is merely a guideline.

There are actions, which could result in immediate termination i.e., theft, property damage, fighting, unauthorized use of the employer’s telephone, etc. It is important for you to read the employee handbook you will receive in your employer orientation. Your employment relationship with the employer is “at will” – it is not for a specific or definite term, and it may be terminated by you or the employer at any time, with or without cause or notice.

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Is it possible to get a second job?

In terms of the laws relating to H2B visas, it is not permissible for a participant to work in any position other than the one in which he or she is employed. The position that is listed on your contract is the position in which you will work throughout the season. Second jobs are not permitted under this visa program and violation of this visa rule will result in immediate termination.

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Is it possible for me to move to another Club?

Your visa only permits you to work at your current employer. It is not possible to work for multiple employers during the season.

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What do I do if I need medical attention?

Visiting a doctor or a hospital in the US may be very different from what you are accustomed to. Outlined below are the steps you should take to get the best benefit from your travel insurance coverage:

  1. If you have a LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. If the treatment was not life-threatening and you were not ADMITTED into the facility you will be responsible for paying $350.00 U.S.
  2. For all other doctor visits, exams, shots, etc. you should contact Olympus Managed Health Care to ensure that the doctor or facility that you plan on going to is “In-Network” and covered under this health plan.

    Global Benefits Group

    27422 Portola Parkway, Suite 110, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610 USA

    24/7 Customer Service: GBGAssist@gbg.com

    Toll Free Number (for use in the USA): 1 866 914 5333*

    * for help locating a provider 24/7 – for claims related questions Monday – Friday 8am-5pm

    Carry your insurance ID card with you at all times. When you go to a Doctor’s office or to the Hospital, be sure to bring your insurance identification card.

    With the MyInsurance Mobile app you have all your travel information right at your fingertips: Show your Insurance ID- Card on your phone to the doctor, view all important contact details and service hotlines, search for a doctor or hospital near your location and view the summary of your benefits.

    Download the app now:

  3. MdNow walk in clinics are “In-Network” and are open 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm.  You MUST take your insurance card and a photo ID to be seen at any walk-in clinic. http://www.mymdnow.com/locations/
  4. You may save some money by going to a CVS or Walgreens on-site clinic that is staffed by a nurse practitioner. While not a doctor, these health-care professionals can help if you need some medications for an infection, minor injuries etc. Not all Walgreens or CVS have this benefit. You can go to the Walgreens, or CVS web-site to find a store with this feature nearest your location.
    Walgreens – http://www.walgreens.com/topic/pharmacy/healthcare-clinic.jsp
    CVS – http://www.minuteclinic.com/en/USA/
  5. To submit a claim, use the information on the www.eSecutive.com/myinsurance web site. It has claim forms, procedures, and other important insurance coverage information.
  6. Worker’s Compensation.  If you are injured while at work it is imperative that you inform management immediately. Do not leave work before informing your shift manager. Work related injuries are covered by Worker’s Compensation Insurance rather than your Workaway provided insurance. Worker’s Compensation coverage is through your employer that is why notification to your supervisor is mandatory.
  7. Walgreens, CVS, Target, Publix, Walmart and Winn Dixie all have pharmacy departments that can be a great source of helpful advice.  Ask to speak with the pharmacist and explain your situation, the pharmacist can suggest certain medications etc. Remember: Pharmacist advice is FREE.
  8. Unwell? Unsure? Confused? Need Help? Have Questions? Your Housing Manager is on hand to help you if you have questions or are unsure which option you should choose.
  9. For minor ailments such as sore throat, tickly cough, grazed knee, minor cuts and scrapes and hangovers, most of these things can be taken care of at home. Make sure you keep a few first aid essentials in your apartment.

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I have applied for my Social Security Number but it has not arrived, what should I do?

Your social security card can take up to ten weeks to be delivered to you. After ten weeks, please inform your Human Resources department of the problem, they may be prepared to help you with transportation to your nearest Social Security office. To find your nearest Social Security office, please utilize the Local Office search facility on the Social Security Administration website. Please note that it is your responsibility to make the time to visit the local social security office.

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May I travel while I am employed?

Yes! It is your responsibility to receive permission from your manager in advance to travel. The managers will do their best to accommodate your request. However, there is no guarantee for time off.

Travelling after the work contract ends is not permitted. Once you have finished your work assignment you must return home as scheduled unless you have secured employment for the summer season.

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How do we find out if our employer arranges cultural trips?

Within the Workaway collection of employers some, but not all, offer cultural trips in and around Florida. Group activities will be advertised to participants via email. Should you wish to attend a particular excursion, it is your responsibility to acquire permission from your manager. The earlier you ask for the time off, the more chance you have of receiving permission. Please note that the employer’s priority is the servicing of their membership and management cannot guarantee that all participants will be granted time off to attend outings.

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What will happen if I want to go home early?

If you want to return home early, please get in touch with your employer’s Human Resources department and Workaway International who will assist you.

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How do I change my airline ticket?

To make the program affordable to participants, Workaway International purchases airline tickets in bulk. These tickets are “limited” in terms of the changes that a passenger is allowed to make. A change in the departure date of an airline ticket may cost $250 and up and changes are subject to availability. This cost will need to be covered by the participant, if the participant resigns. The fee needs to be paid in full prior to any changes being made. There may also be limitations in terms of the number of ticket changes that the airline will allow over the course of the season and participants wanting to change ticket departure dates near the end of the season may be unable to do so.

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Do I need a visa for the USA?

Yes you do. Upon acceptance as a participant on the program you will need to apply for a H2B visa, which specifies the function you will perform over a defined period of time.

You will have to go for a personal interview at the USA consulate in your home country. Our team will help guide you through the visa application process and arrange an interview for you.

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What other countries are involved in the program?

We have a wide variety of cultures involved with the program, but with emphasis on English speaking ability. Some of the countries currently involved are South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania etc.

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What type of accommodation is available?

You may arrange your own accommodation or for a nominal fee, make use of the experienced team of the appointed housing company, who will arrange accommodation on your behalf. If you decide to secure accommodation from the appointed housing company, you will be required to sign a sub-lease for the apartment and will be subjected to all terms and conditions therein.

If you decide to utilize the housing option, you cannot during the employment contract decide to move to your own accommodation. Be prepared to share a 2-to-3 bedroom apartment with another 3 to 5 potentially co-ed flatmates. Flatmate requests will be honoured whenever possible. However, they (including same gender requests) cannot be guaranteed.

Many of the apartments provide such amenities as microwaves, dishwasher, swimming pools, exercise facilities, and laundromats. However, housing is assigned at random, and the amenities may vary. Grocery, pharmacy and miscellaneous shopping are within city bus routes and biking/walking distance from the location of the housing.

If you choose to arrange your own accommodation, you will not be able to move into the optional housing offered through the program at a later date. Unfortunately, there is only enough housing available for those who opt to utilize the housing accommodation.

Accommodation is approximately between $160 and $170 per week. For more information regarding accommodation click here

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What is the legal age for drinking in the USA?

The legal age for consuming alcohol in the United States is 21 years. Before purchasing alcohol you will be required to prove your age with a photo identity.

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What If I get arrested whilst in the USA?

Get in touch with the Workaway office right away. Also, let someone know what has happened so that we know where you are.

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Is the place of employment a drug-free workplace?

Absolutely! The Employer has a zero tolerance for drug use and alcohol consumption on the job. Employees who test positive for drug use and/or alcohol consumption while on the job are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension and/or termination. Possession of controlled substances (drugs) is illegal in the United States. Heavy fines and jail time may result from drug possession or even association with people in possession of drugs.

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How do I claim my tax back?

All individuals who have earned income in the U.S. are required to file a tax return for the previous year. Your tax return should show your earnings for the previous year, the taxes you paid and the total amount of taxes owed or refunded.

To file for your tax return you will need your W-2 and Form 1040 EZ or 1040NR-EZ depending upon your residency status. By January 31st you will receive a W-2 Form from your employer.

Those who participated in the northern program will receive two W-2 Forms: one from your northern employer and one from your current employer.

Please note that we strongly suggest seeking appropriate advice when claiming your taxes. Completing your tax returns is your responsibility. All tax returns must be filed by April 15th.

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How will I be able to contact my friends and family?

If you are utilizing the Workaway appointed housing, you will have a DSL internet connection for flat mates to share. Participants will need to provide their own laptop or computer. It is recommended that you establish an e-mail address prior to your arrival as a great deal of communication will take place over the Internet.

Telephones will allow you to receive calls as well as make unlimited local/calling card calls. The purchase of long distance calling cards or international calling cards is at your own expense. Please be advised that using the employer’s telephones for personal use is strictly prohibited and considered grounds for termination.

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What is the weather like in Florida?

The Winter Program – October to April/May (Florida)

The average temperature during our winter season (October-April/May) is 20-25°C. Though it is usually balmy/humid during the day, long pants or a light jacket may be necessary in the evenings or for occasional cold fronts.

The Summer Program – April/May to October (New York/Pennsylvania/North Carolina/New Jersey/Illinois/Connecticut/Massachusetts/Wyoming/Michigan)

The summer weather is very similar to a Mediterranean summer. Temperatures range from 20-30°C during the day and fall to about 10-20°C in the evening, depending on the time of year. However, because you will be arriving in the spring and leaving in the fall season, it is advisable to bring at least one warm coat or jacket and two to three sweaters for your stay as it will be considerably cooler at night during these times.

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I have just been terminated (fired), what should I do?

Contact the Workaway International office and they will make arrangements for you to return to your home country as soon as possible. You are required to return to your home country within 10 days of your Employment Termination. Failure to comply with this rule may have a negative impact on your ability to return to the USA in the future.

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What are the Do’s and Don’ts at work?

 

It is Workaway International’s goal to ensure that you have an excellent experience while you are in the US.  There will be a lot of hard work and challenges but hopefully a lot of fun with new friends, travel and adventure. It is essential that you treat everyone with respect; at work as well as those you meet outside of the workplace. You should insist on being treated with respect too! Harassment in any form is never acceptable.

We have listed some guidelines below to help you benefit the most from your experience here in the US.

Do’s

Don’ts

Remember, HAVE FUN!

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What are the personal safety tips that I need to be aware of?

It is particularly important for you to know whom to contact in case you need assistance. In the event you need police assistance or protection of any kind, you should always contact the local law enforcement immediately. In the event of an emergency, dial 911 first and then contact your Housing Manager. Your safety is the responsibility of the local law enforcement agencies and yourself. A list of personal safety tips that we recommend you follow are below. It is our sincere desire that you have a happy, healthy and safe living experience while on our program. We believe that by taking an active role in your own safety, you can avoid any unnecessary problems.

Personal Safety

Sexual Assault

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When should I call 911?

911 can be used to report any emergency. This includes medical emergencies, fire and suspected acts of violence and / or crime. Workaway International encourages the use of 911 in any situation where the participant feels concerned for his / her or any other person’s safety or health. In the event that there is a fire in your apartment, irrespective of how small, it is imperative that the fire department be called out to inspect the apartment.

It is important to carry your medical insurance card in your wallet. Should you be involved in an accident, emergency services personnel will most likely check your wallet for identification and information on your medical insurance provider.

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What will happen if a hurricane hits our area?

South Florida may experience hurricane threats during the course of your stay. Hurricane season ends in December. Workaway will be monitoring all hurricane activity closely and will act prudently and in accordance with National Hurricane Center directives. Your employer and Workaway International will make sure that you are kept well informed with respect to hurricane precautions.

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What do I do if I get injured at work (injured on duty)?

It is imperative that you inform management immediately. DO NOT LEAVE WORK WITHOUT REPORTING THE INJURY. Be prepared to provide management with details of exactly when and how the injury occurred. The treatment of your injury will most likely be covered by Workmen’s Compensation insurance. Workaway/Employer will be responsible for transporting you to the medical facility for treatment and for any other follow up medical care. You will be required to take a drug test following an on-site work injury.

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What are the emergency numbers in the USA? 

IN A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. 

For all emergencies, contact your Housing Manager as soon as it is safe to do so. Examples of emergencies include: 

  • Serious injury or illness 
  • Fire/smoke
  • Water leaks
  • Electrical problems
  • A/C malfunctions

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