My boss doesn't understand that I have kids
(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,
I work for an employer who does not understand people with children. I have 2 kids, both are sick. My husband took one day off this week so it is my turn to stay home and care for them. I called my supervisor yesterday to tell her I would not be in today and made sure she knew exactly where things were in the process to ensure a smooth work day and results out in time. However, I did not email the owner or the company until late this morning as I have been slammed taking care of my children. The owner keeps her company under 50 employees intentionally; I'm sure you are familiar with why.
As I am trying to get to my question here, if the owner wants to "write me up" for not being in today, do I have to sign this even if I gave my immediate supervisor almost a 24 hour notice that I would be out?
There is no right to stay home with sick kids. Even if your company had more than 50 employees, and was therefore eligible for FMLA, routine childhood illnesses aren't generally covered. One day off is just that, one day off, regardless of the number of employees.
First of all, the owner isn't being mean or irrational in keeping his staffing at a level which reduces interference from the federal government. Being subject to additional rules and regulations is expensive.
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So, yes, you can be written up for skipping work, even if you notified your supervisor. Signing generally indicates that you've received notice of the write up, not that you agree that you should be punished. You also, clearly, agree that you took an unscheduled day off. Notifying your supervisor does not equal permission. Additionally, the fact that you did email the owner later in the day indicates to me that you knew that you needed permission from the owner, not just acknowledgement from your supervisor. So, why didn't you do it the day before, as you did with your direct boss? Surely in the 24 hours between when you told your supervisor and when you didn't show up to work, you had 15 seconds to write an email to the owner, right?
You didn't do it, though. Being clairvoyant (and having talked to about a zillion people about why their boss is out to get them), I know why: It's easier to get forgiveness than permission and you knew the big boss would say no. By notifying your supervisor within a reasonable amount of time you get to maintain your own belief that you did everything you could, even though you know you should have told the owner sooner.
Now, should this business owner be more flexible? Absolutely. Good employees are hard to come by and when you have one, you should do what it takes to keep the employee happy and productive. Two income families and single parents generally have to miss work if a kid is sick. Everyone knows this, but the reality is that the reason businesses hire people is to make money. If you're not working, you're not helping the business make money.
Now, in Evil HR Lady's ideal world, bosses would be sympathetic, employees would bust their buns to get their jobs done, and everyone would be judged not by their face time but by the end results. Everyone would be happy to jump in to help when necessary and no one would ever lie about why they can't come into the office. Unfortunately, no one voted for me as queen of the universe, so this isn't likely.
You know that your company owner isn't big on flexibility. So, you have options. You can look for a new job. You can make your husband the primary caregiver for the children. You can move closer to grandma or your favorite cousin who is willing to take the little ones when they are puking. But what is silly is getting upset because the owner of your company is acting entirely as predicted.
If you want to continue working there, you can work to help the owner understand why it's important to his bottom line to allow you (and all other employees) flexibility. If you can show that missing a day for a sick kid, or working from home or coming in at 6:00 a.m. and going home at 2:00 while your husband goes in to his office at 2:00, all makes him money, his heart will soften.
If you make a sincere attempt to try to see things through his eyes, it's more likely that he'll be able to see things through yours.
Have a workplace dilemma? Send your question to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.
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