A thought experiment - thoughts on co-worker missing too much work

That must be it. That’s a good way to look at it. Still doesn’t make any less work for anyone else - I have and I will continue talking to my supervisor about it. He’s not much of a supervisor, though, so I have a feeling he’s not handling this as well as someone more competent.

Not paying the worker for excess missed days IS the “doing something”. IMHO, that’s a strict penalty in and of itself.

A summary termination is not in order without more information (haven’t read past the OP). A summary re-assignment of some kind, however, may well be the way to go if available.

This is not in the OP, is it?

We have a new girl here that started 1 week ago yesterday. She is not here today and has taken two half days off. I don’t particularly care but it will be interesting to see how management responds and if she still works here next week.

Urgh … it’s troubling if she was aware that she was pregnant for a significant time before the disciplinary hearing. Did she have any kind of sick-time/timeliness issues before?

You’re not the supervisor, so you really can’t do anything about it. If your supervisor’s not dumb, s/he already knows how it’s inconveniencing everyone… s/he’s noticed that people are staying later and working harder, and it’s probably irritating him/her as well, so saying something is most likely just going to be redundant.

We have a similar situation at work… this lady who’s got a 1-year-old is constantly missing days beyond her sick time because either she or her son is sick on a regular basis. One week, she came in Monday, left early because she wasn’t feeling well, and literally called in every day for the rest of the week with a different excuse every single day. Just recently, her son has had pink eye and the flu, and she’s had pink eye and a stomach virus. That’s just over the course of one month. At any rate, it’s annoying to everyone, but it’s not like our boss doesn’t know that… she’s heard us bitching, and she’s the one who gets the call-ins, so she’s aware of the problem and it’s really up to her how she handles it. It’s inconvenient, but it doesn’t cause any overtime, so to me, it’s not that big a deal. She may not be officially disciplined for it, but she’s already missed two promotions because of it, so as far as I’m concerned, she’s suffering the consequences.

I think your issue is properly not with the co-worker for taking time off and not doing their work during their pregancy/illness, but with your bosses for not providing adequate staffing/accomodations for you and the others who need to pick up the slack.

IMO, every employee pretty much works out the best situation for themselves that they can. It may be that getting paid or unpaid leave for illness/pregnancy is what works out best for a co-worker. All that remains for you is to figure out what is the best for you given your priorities and situation in life, and figure out how to get there.

In years past I used to get upset about people who took a lot of time off for various reasons, or were unproductive when they were were in the office. But I realized they make me look good by comparison, simply for showing up regularly, handling my workload, picking up some slack when necessary, and not causing headaches for my boss. What worked out best for me was figuring out the aspects of our workplace policies that I could use to my own advantage, the way I prefer to style my life.

How far along is she? And if there isn’t a law, could she have been worried that letting people know she was preggers too early might cost her a promotion? (I know, missing weeks of work wouldn’t help her, either, but I’ve heard too many ‘Is she on the mommy track?’ comments from higher ups to think this fear is unfounded).

Alternatively, she could have been simply refraining from telling anyone about her pregnancy until she was forced to in this case by the circumstances. It’s not uncommon to not mention a pregnancy until after the first trimester, even to family. The chance of miscarriage is fairly high even for healthy mothers and babies, and if she’s that sick…

:shrug: Folks get sick. Folks have difficult pregnancies. It sucks, but what do you want her to do? Obviously, the company values her enough that they’re willing to work with her on this. If there’s a problem, it’s with your boss, not with her.

Exactly. Many women don’t tell their employers until they’re about 3 months along–it’s right before most women start to show, and by that point, you’ve passed most of the risk of miscarriage. It seems likely that she planned to wait, but once she started missing so many days realized she needed to let her employers know that she has a legitimate medical condition.

Ditto this. What another coworker does or doesn’t do is neither your business nor your problem, unless/until you are their manager. If the person’s absences are causing you to be overworked, talk to your boss about your inability to do the extra work.

Ding! +1.

Honestly, I’d find this reassuing, because it also suggests that if you get really sick they will be willing to work wtih you as well. Even if you are not planing on pregnancy, anyone could get cancer or whatever. It would be better, of course, if when they were working with you they also rearranged staffing so as not to overwork anytone else, but, as has been pointed out, that’s a seperate issue.

Originally Posted by MLS
Do you know for sure that your co-worker is being paid for the time off beyond the 10-day limit? If so, how do you know that?

No, it isn’t; that’s why I asked. Perhaps I didn’t word it clearly. If the absent worker is not being paid for the excess time out, then the employer IS doing something about it.

One place I worked for had IMHO the very best policy on sick time: If you are sick, or if your family is sick and you need to care for them, stay home. Do not come into the building while sick or you will cause others to become ill. The policy went on to state requirements for doctors’ notes after a certain number of consecutive days, and to describe the procedure for short- and long-term disability. It was also presumed that if a person’s absence was excessive, they might be counseled and asked whether they were really healthy enough for full-time employment and that perhaps for their own good they should re-evaluate the situation. It was also expected that if the road conditions made it unsafe to drive that it was better to stay home and come into work in one piece another day than to get into an accident and be out for weeks. Not surprisingly, I knew of no one who abused these policies.

I also agree with this. It’s fair to ask what would happen if I personally needed extra time off due to illness, but that and my workload is the extent to which my boss needs to answer to me.

I know that my co-worker is being paid because my boss is so incompetent he not only tells me private stuff about other co-workers but he discusses things like this in front of the rest of us. Like yesterday, when he was discussing going on disability with this co-worker in front of the rest of us.

You guys are all right, though - the work piling up on everyone’s desks is the issue, not her pregnancy. That really does need to be discussed thoroughly.

From a managers perspective, I’d be the one asking the questions. You have a duty to all your staff- not just those taking the sick leave. And I see nothing wrong with discreetly asking if there is a problem. In saying that though, I would hope that the work climate is such that the employee would speak to me first to indicate they would/ could require extra time off. (Staff are coworkers in my view in case anyone raises that point).

My wife is currently pregnant so I may be just naturally more tolerant towards the situation. My wife is fortunate in that she hasn’t gotten too sick, but some women have it harder.

The co-worker should have discussed the situation with with company before it became an issue. The company needs to make a plan for how to handle it.

That said, unfortunately too many people and companies don’t do what they “should” do, and then others suffer for it.

For me, it would make a difference knowing if the person had a medical problem or was pregnant rather than just because they were slacking off.