Time Off

Posted on March 1, 2010

There are various reasons why employees miss work. The absence can be for an entire day or just part of the day to attend a medical appointment or a school event for a child. Either way, in most small offi ces, someone is gone at any time. It places an additional burden on other employees who must pick up the slack. Whenever possible, advance notice of an absence should be provided, and other employees expected to cover the work should be told ahead of time so they can plan accordingly. The nature of the absence need not be revealed, but your expectation for coverage must be relayed. When an employee calls in sick at night, employees who are expected to work the next day should be called if the time is reasonable so they can change their plans if needed. Absences can throw havoc into lunch schedules and planned meetings when coverage is needed.

Depending upon your financial situation, you may or may not offer paid leave. This can burden your employee who may show up sick simply because she cannot afford to take the day off. It is reasonable to expect that most employees will miss three to five days in a year because of illness or attending to a sick child. The cost to pay for an employee’s sick day(s) is much cheaper than the expense and delays resulting from that sick employee coming to work, infecting others, and causing multiple sick days for several employees. Many employers also offer a minimum one week paid vacation after a year of service. This will keep your employees fresh and enthusiastic about their jobs and should be considered an investment in their well being and happiness with your company. If you cannot afford to pay for these benefi ts, you should at least have a clear policy of how many non-paid days off are acceptable for vacation and illness.

Family needs range from attending parent-teacher conferences to the holiday play a child might be performing in. These events are important in the social and emotional development of families and should be accepted and tolerated as often as possible. Whether pay is included or a parent must take an extended lunch hour to accomplish family business, it is wise to have a policy that encourages employees to be parents and spouses fi rst and employees second. In some cases, employees without children may resent the fact that some employees get this family time off, so be sure to recognize that and perhaps give that person an extra hour at lunch as a bonus to keep things equal.

It seem that lunches almost have become a thing of the past in the small offi ce. In multiple industries, one person is elected each day to make the “food run” and bring back food for all to eat.

Eating at a desk every day should be discouraged. Employees should be encouraged to take their lunches and disconnect from the job for personal time. Determining who goes to lunch at what time should be jointly decided based on the needs and desires of each person. In case of a confl ict, management will need to make a schedule that is fair and reasonable.

You should not have back-to-back lunches scheduled, such as one person going from 11:30 to 12:30 and the next one from 12:30 to 1:30, as someone coming back late from lunch can cause a rift. Schedule the second employee from 12:45 to 1:45 instead.

 "The cost to pay for an employee’s sick day(s) is much cheaper than the expense and delays resulting from that sick employee coming to work, infecting others, and causing multiple sick days for several employees."

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