Leave Policies

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Another update from the Jungle….

Danny is interviewing for a new job, and the question he dreads most has just been asked. Why did he leave his last job?  Danny stares at the in-house recruiter of his prospective employer and thinks back to his former job.

Danny is a young salesman, bright and energetic. He was hired straight out of college into his dream job. He thought his former boss, Sam, was his friend because they talked about sports when they weren’t talking about business.

They often hung out at a sports bar after work watching sports events.  They also called and texted each other about games they were watching during the weekend. Unfortunately, Danny hadn’t made the mental transition from college buddies to business colleagues.

He learned this hard lesson during March Madness.  Danny hosted a party for some of his college frat brothers. Since he was hosting his own party, he couldn’t attend Sam’s party for colleagues and clients.

As the game progressed, Danny called Sam to discuss the latest score and joke about some of the action. But Danny was drinking heavily and jokes that amuse frat brothers don’t necessarily amuse a boss, particularly a boss trying to entertain his own guests.  After the tenth call in as many minutes, Sam ordered Danny to not call him again. Danny laughed drunkenly and agreed. A few minutes later, he called Sam again. Sam hung up and turned off his phone.

The next day, Danny was met at the office by an HR rep who explained that getting drunk and making harassing phone calls to a boss was inappropriate. She informed Danny that he could resign and receive a severance package or he could be fired.  Danny chose the first option and returned home to nurse his hangover.

This sorry sequence of events flits through Danny’s mind as he stares at the in-house recruiter. What are Danny’s options?

  1. He can admit that he got drunk, showed poor judgment, and was invited to be successful elsewhere.
  2. He can trash his former employer as a rotten place to work.
  3. He can say that his former employer wasn’t a good “fit” or that he is looking for a new challenge.

In the actual situation, the young employee was given a few coaching tips during his exit interview, regarding appropriate behavior outside the office.  It’s always a good idea to add a segment in the on-boarding process to remind new hires that what they do on their own time can negatively affect their employment.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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It Says So Right Here!

Another update from the Jungle….

Jane started her business after being downsized by her corporate employer.  She knew she wanted her business to be different from the bureaucracy of her Big Biz employer and vowed to avoid the burden of written policies.  

3But as she adds employees it becomes clear that a lack of written policies is bad for the bottom line. No written policies allow Evan to claim that he doesn’t know he is supposed to start work at 8:30 am. He thinks showing up by 10 am is okay as long as he gets his work done.  

4Jane decides she needs something in writing. She digs out an old copy of Big Biz’s employee handbook. She customizes it by changing the employer’s name, correcting a few typos, and changing the font.  Then she gives a copy to each employee and receives a signed acknowledgement from each employee.

None of the employees actually read the employee handbook, of course, until they need to. Evan reads the section on progressive discipline after Jane gives him a final written warning about his attendance.

1Meanwhile, Audrey discovers she’s pregnant. She hauls out her copy of the handbook, which is propping up a corner of her desk, and unfolds it to read the section on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). She tells Jane she wants to take FMLA leave to have her baby and asks for the leave request form.  

Jane doesn’t have any FMLA forms. Her internet search eventually leads her to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) website where she learns the horrible truth about the FMLA. It applies to companies with more than 50 employees. Her Little Biz shop has 20 employees.  The news is so disturbing that she drinks half a bottle of wine while she thinks about her options.

What should Jane do next?

  1. She can collect every copy of the handbook and burn them in the parking lot knowing that most of her employees never read it.
  2. She can tell Audrey that the FMLA section of the handbook is a mistake because that law doesn’t apply to Jane’s business.
  3. She can grant FMLA leave to Audrey in accordance with the handbook policy. Then she can immediately revise the handbook to delete information about employment laws that don’t apply to her company.

The above scenario is a common problem for small business owners who lack familiarity with employment laws. The lack of familiarity can fix one problem while creating many more problems.

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Be Kind, Not Nice.

Another update from the HR jungle….


“Be kind, not nice” is a favorite saying of one of my friends. Consider what that means for employers and their employees.

Leslie’s company has less than 50 employees, so the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not apply to her company. This fact became important yesterday when Beth revealed that she has breast cancer and needs extended leave while she undergoes treatment. Beth also says that she wants to return to work full-time after completing her initial treatment.

Leslie counts Beth as a personal friend as well as an employee and wants to help. Beth was one of the first employees she hired and has always been a stellar performer. But Leslie knows that if Beth is granted extended leave, other employees will demand the same treatment later. She also worries that her staff is too small to cover for an employee who is absent for an extended period of time.

Leslie considers her situation and how she can be kind, but not nice to Beth. What options are available to Leslie?

  1. She can be kind to Beth by offering support as a friend and accommodating Beth’s treatment schedule as much as reasonably possible without disrupting the company’s work flow.
  2. She can protect her company by documenting the business reasons for making an exception to the leave policy for Beth. For example, Beth’s work performance and length of service could justify making an exception to the leave policy.

Distinguishing kind from nice may not be easy particularly when creating HR policies. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you separate kind from nice in your employee practices with HR policies that are appropriate for your company.

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Me First!

seagullBob’s business has grown as the economy picks up and he now has 10 employees. As the holiday season approaches, every employee wants time off. Bob’s problem is that he never formalized the company’s leave policy as he added employees. Now he’s in a bind as the holidays approach and he still hasn’t figured out a system for granting leave.

Sue argues that seniority counts since she was the first employee hired. Doris argues for a “first come, first served” process, which is why she gave Bob her leave request right after the July 4th holiday. Others argue for a rotation so that all employees eventually have a chance at being the first to choose. Bob’s starting to hate his own company as he faces these daily conflicts.

What options are available to Bob?

  1. He can appeal to the better nature of the employees, imploring them to sort it out among themselves. (Everyone who thinks that will work, raise your hand).
  2. He can use a seniority system with the longest serving employee choosing first and the most recent hire choosing last. (Employees dislike this system but most employers use it).
  3. He can create a leave policy, whether seniority based or on a rotation and then meet with employees to explain how the policy will be implemented.

Has your company faced similar problems and struggled for a solution?

Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/